Carl Levin: champion of habeas corpus?

Here's a funny thing:

Looking at the torture bill farrago, one of the last shots left in the locker of those seeking to stymie the bill seems to be the Specter-Levin amendment restoring habeas corpus rights for detainees (I haven't seen the actual text, which is not on THOMAS yet.)

Just now, I happen to be looking at a piece in the Columbia Journalism Review on the reporting of the torture issue, which refers to the original McCain amendment to the 2006 defense authorization bill which formed the basis of the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, which the bill currently under consideration would amend.

Now, my researches, such as they are (rudimentary), indicate that Levin had a hand in beefing up the McCain amendment, by extending the scope of the ban on habeas corpus claims by detainees.

(This amendment is SA 2524 to S 1042 - passed 84-13 on November 15 2005.)

The amendment is known as the Graham-Kyl-Levin amendment (being the three sponsors/cosponsors) and was in bad odor with human rights and civil liberties groups.

I've not traced all the ins and outs - S 1042 was inserted by the Senate as a substitute amendment in HR 1815, which led to a conference, and the ultimate enactment of the House bill.

But if Levin does have a record of seeking to narrow the scope of habeas corpus claims for detainees, that would at least be in piquant contrast to his current position on S 3091.

More later.

Update [2006-9-24 22:54:58 by skeptic06]:

I'm not much further forward.

I was held up for a while puzzling why virtually the same version of the Detainee Treatment Act turns up in both the authorization and appropriations bills for FY06. Appropriations is hippogriff country to me, so I've assumed away that little detail!

From what I've read, the general impression I get from lefty circles (here and here, for instance) is that the GKL Amendment was an improvement on the Graham amendment for which it was a substitute.

But that's not saying much - a Village Voicepiece, which also contains the nugget that one senator to object to the GKL Amendment was none other than Brer Specter, Levin's partner in crime in the current habeas corpus amendment!

Of course, what I want is an article which gives me a decent summary of the legislative history of the Detainee Treatment Act; reinventing the wheel I refuse to do!

Tags: Carl Levin, Detainee Treatment Act of 2005, FY06 Defense Appropriations Bill, FY06 Defense Authorization Bill, geneva convention, Graham-Kyl-Levin Amendment, Guantanamo, Harry Reid, HR 1815, HR 2863, HR 6054, John Warner, Jon Kyl, Lindsey Graham, mccain, Military Commissions Act, S 3901, Specter-Levin Amendment, Unlawful Combatants (all tags)


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