GOP Senators to act on USSC ruling with legislation addressing Gitmo detainees

Via the NYTimes:

Republican leaders, also making the rounds of the Sunday talk shows, called for a more limited response. They said Congress should pass legislation in a matter of months to comply with the court and give the president explicit authority to put detainees at the military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, on trial before military commissions.

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the military commissions the administration had planned were unauthorized by federal statute and violated international law.

Republican leaders also expressed alarm on Sunday over the court’s application of a provision of the Geneva Conventions to the detainees, which they said they would seek to counter legislatively.

Both parties were treading carefully in a political and legislative terrain suddenly reconfigured by the Supreme Court. Most leaders on Sunday pledged bipartisan cooperation, but some fault lines were clear.

On the Democratic side:

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, said on “Meet the Press” on NBC that “this White House has felt it could just change things unilaterally.” Mr. Schumer added, “Had they come to Congress a few years ago on this issue, my guess is they would have gotten most of what they wanted.”

LOL. Sure they would have! As the next paragraph makes clear, Schumer contradicted himself:

But in light of the court ruling, Mr. Schumer called on Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to create an independent commission to conduct “a top-to-bottom legal review of all of the administration’s ongoing antiterror measures.”

Mr. Schumer added, “The administration has not only largely ignored the Congress, but has also badly miscalculated how its efforts would be evaluated by the Supreme Court.” Efforts to “marginalize the other two branches of government threaten to undermine, rather than promote, counterterrorism efforts,” he said.

Translation: we would have fought the admin every step of the way on Gitmo, Supreme Court ruling or not.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, also called for a measured response. “It can’t be handled on a sound bite on Sunday morning,” Mr. Specter, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said on “Face the Nation” on CBS. “We have to get the details as to what the administration thinks they can do. We’ve got to look at the Supreme Court decision. And we have to reconcile it. But it has to be Congress because it’s our constitutional responsibility.”

He added, “It’s not up to the president alone.”

Memo to Arlen Specter: It’s not up to Congress to usurp the President’s role as Commander in Chief in a time of war, either.

The USSC has spoken, and Congress is addressing the issue. But the debate on the ruling continues to rage on.

Semi-related: Jimmy Carter writes an opinion piece for the WaPo that says, essentially, that we ought to follow ‘international trends’ when it comes to making government information more readily available to the public. He’s pushing for an expansion of the US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which turns 40 tomorrow, because he thinks the Bush administration is too ‘secretive.’

Others blogging about this: Captain Ed, Confederate Yankee


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