Today, the United States Senate failed to protect American liberty, voting to reject an amendment by Mark Udall to a Defense authorization bill that is almost certain to pass.
The Defense authorization legislation grants the U.S. military the power to put American citizens within the borders of the United States into prison without any criminal charge, without any time limit. All that the federal government will need to do to imprison Americans will be to merely accuse them of terrorism, without substantiating those charges with any evidence.
Supporters of this radical expansion of government power, which violates the right to fair trial guaranteed to us in the Constitution, say that it’s necessary to protect Americans from terrorism. Of course, Americans have been protected from terrorism for years without the need of arbitrary imprisonment without criminal charge.
Furthermore, antiterrorism experts say that these new government powers could actually cripple government efforts to thwart terrorism. FBI Director Robert Mueller has written an advisory letter that the provisions of the Defense authorization bill “may adversely impact our ability to continue ongoing terrorism investigations before or after arrest, derive intelligence from those investigations, and may raise extraneous issues in any future prosecution”.
The Udall Amendment would have removed the legislation’s unconstitutional power of imprisonment without criminal charge. This afternoon, that amendment failed to pass. It was rejected by a coalition of Republicans and Democrats who have become comfortable with the existence of totalitarian government powers. The vote wasn’t even close: 37 for Senator Udall’s protection of American freedom, 61 opposed to the Udall amendment, and 2 senators who didn’t show up to vote.
A roll call of the vote follows:
Democrats who voted FOR arbitrary imprisonment of Americans in the USA:
Senator Robert Casey, Senator Kent Conrad, Senator Kay Hagan, Senator Daniel Inouye, Senator Herb Kohl, Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator Carl Levin, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Robert Menendez, Senator Ben Nelson, Senator Mark Pryor, Senator Jack Reed, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Debbie Stabenow, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse
Republicans who voted FOR arbitrary imprisonment of Americans in the USA:
Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Senator John Barrasso, Senator Roy Blunt, Senator John Boozman, Senator Scott Brown, Senator Richard Burr, Senator Saxby Chambliss, Senator Daniel Coats, Senator Thomas Coburn, Senator Thad Cochran, Senator Susan Collins, Senator Bob Corker, Senator John Cornyn, Senator Mike Crapo, Senator Jim DeMint, Senator Michael Enzi, Senator Lindsey Graham, Senator Charles Grassley, Senator Orrin Hatch, Senator Dean Heller, Senator John Hoeven, Senator Kay Hutchison, Senator James Inhofe, Senator Johnny Isakson, Senator Mike Johanns, Senator Ron Johnson, Senator Jon Kyl, Senator Mike Lee, Senator Richard Lugar, Senator John McCain, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Jerry Moran, Senator Robert Portman, Senator James Risch, Senator Pat Roberts, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator Richard Shelby, Senator Olympia Snowe, Senator John Thune, Senator Pat Toomey, Senator David Vitter, Senator Roger Wicker
Democrats who voted AGAINST arbitrary imprisonment of Americans in the USA:
Senator Daniel Akaka, Senator Max Baucus, Senator Michael Bennet, Senator Jeff Bingaman, Senator Richard Blumenthal, Senator Barbara Boxer, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator Maria Cantwell, Senator Benjamin Cardin, Senator Thomas Carper, Senator Chris Coons, Senator Richard Durbin, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Al Franken, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Tom Harkin, Senator Tim Johnson, Senator John Kerry, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Frank Lautenberg, Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Jeff Merkley, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Bill Nelson, Senator Harry Reid, Senator John Rockefeller, Senator Charles Schumer, Senator Jon Tester, Senator Mark Udall, Senator Tom Udall, Senator Mark Warner, Senator Jim Webb, Senator Ron Wyden
Republicans who voted AGAINST arbitrary imprisonment of Americans in the USA:
Senators who didn’t bother to participate in the vote: