By Diane Silver
[updated 9/30 12:30 p.m. CST with pdf text of the act]
It's time to move beyond emotion and to figure out exactly what Congress and President Bush have just done to us.
My goal with this post, which I intend to keep updating, is to collect in one place as many credible sources on this new law as possible. I want to really understand this thing and, thus, intend to collect not just those who critique the act, but also those who support it.
You all know how I feel, so obviously, I'm going to start with a majority of links from those opposed. This is for no other reason than the fact that so far, all I've read are opponents. However, I do intend to post links to supporters.
I'm looking for the commentary and reporting of people with some expertise in this area. Bush, Cheney and all the other politicians don't quality unless they are administration officials stating specifically how they intend to enforce this law. I'm starting with a smattering of links and intend to add others as I find them.
By the way, I do think morality is an important part of this debate, so I will include links to comments from religious and spiritual leaders when and if I find them.
Some of these categories will be blank to start, but send me links as you find them. New links will be added as I get them. Corrections will be made as I'm aware of errors.
Please post links in the comments section or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org
TEXT OF THE ACT
The text of the bill as passed by both houses of Congress is now available in pdf, printable format.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The Ball is Now in the Supremes' Court
Andrew Cohn - Washington Post
With the passage of this terrible law, the "other" two branches of government have combined to try to ace the judiciary out of the detainee business.Court Challenge to New Detainee Law to Come in Days
TPM Muckraker reporting on Congressional Quarterly story
LEGAL EXPERTS OPPOSING THE ACT
The White House Warden
Yale Law & Political Science Professor Bruce Ackerman
The compromise legislation, which is racing toward the White House, authorizes the president to seize American citizens as enemy combatants, even if they have never left the United States. And once thrown into military prison, they cannot expect a trial by their peers or any other of the normal protections of the Bill of Rights.
(Yale Law Professor) Jack Balkin on Laws Without Judicial Recourse
The MCA continues to recognize that certain conduct is illegal, but attempts to eliminate all judicial remedies for such violations.
Does the Military Commissions Act apply to (U.S.) citizens?
Yale Professor Balkin at his own blog, Balkinization
(1) Yes, a few parts of the MCA do apply to citizens; and (2) the MCA is probably unconstitutional in many of its applications to citizens; and (3) some constitutional applications of the MCA to citizens are deeply troubling.
What Hamden Hath Wrought
ACLU Analysis of the Senate Bill
This analysis -- in the form of a letter to senators -- was written before the bill was passed, but since the bill was not amended, the criticisms still stand.
S. 3930 not only lacks any explicit prohibition against the horrific abuse inflicted on persons by the federal government during the past four and one-half years, but it provides the President with explicit authority to define Common Article 3 violations and revamps the War Crimes Act without providing any specific guidelines. As a result, there is no clear bar to the Bush Administration once again authorizing the federal government to engage in illegal acts such as waterboarding, death threats, induced hypothermia, use of dogs, and stress positions.
NEWS MEDIA ANALYSIS
Detainee Bill Shifts Power to the President
New York Times (registration required) Analysis includes criticism & support & theorizes that the legislation may lead the Supreme Court to decide that it does not have the power to hear challenges to military commissions.
In effect it allows the president to identify enemies, imprison them indefinitely and interrogate them -- albeit with a ban on the harshest treatment -- beyond the reach of the full court reviews traditionally afforded criminal defendants and ordinary prisoners...Over all, the legislation reallocates power among the three branches of government, taking authority away from the judiciary and handing it to the president.
Still looking for detailed information & links on:
LEGAL EXPERTS SUPPORTING THE ACT
MILITARY & TERRORISM EXPERTS OPPOSED
MILITARY & TERRORISM EXPERTS SUPPORTING
RELIGIOUS & SPIRITUAL LEADERS SPEAK OUT
Remember, folks, this is a work in progress. I need your help to finish it.