Udall Amendment Fails 37-61

In the battle of two wrong sides, the Democrats lost, with the Udall Amendment failing 37-61. The vote is interesting, first of all, as a read of Obama’s ability to sustain a veto. Right now, the militarists do not have a two-thirds majority to override.

Also of interest are some of the Democrats voting against the Udall Amendment, most notably Sheldon Whitehouse.

Rand Paul and Mark Kirk are the only two Republicans to vote in favor of Udall.

I’ll have a more complete discussion of the vote count shortly.

Update: Here’s the roll call. The Dems voting against are:

  • Casey
  • Conrad
  • Hagan*
  • Inouye
  • Kohl
  • Landrieu
  • Levin*
  • Lieberman*
  • Manchin*
  • McCaskill*
  • Menendez
  • Bad Nelson*
  • Pryor
  • Reed*
  • Shaheen*
  • Stabenow
  • Whitehouse

I’m interested in the way the Dem SASC members voted. I’ve put asterisks next to those people above; SASC members voting for Udall’s Amendment are Udall himself, Akaka, Webb, Gillibrand, and Blumenthal. Begich did not vote.

Update: Ron Paul corrected to Rand per skinla.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

40 replies
  1. Larue says:

    So, CA’s SciFi and Boxer want to legalize the indefinite detention of US Citizens with no restrictions. They want to legalize the ‘disappearing’ of those who would dissent, either in public, in print or broadcast or on the internet.

    I’ve fired the DIM party, but I might have to email them both this comment with Mz. Wheeler’s most EXCELLENT coverage of this Senate process wrt the AUMF and 1031 and 1032, Udall, Levin, et all.

    Bless ya Mz. Wheeler . . . thanks for all you do.

  2. wendy davis says:

    @Jeff Kaye:

    Jeff, I miss you on the front page of the FDL Mothership, so I’ve been checking at The Dissenter. You are scarce even there; whassup with that?

    Any other place to find you? One site that said it was yours hadn’t had a recent post. Maybe ‘Invictus’, Invictium? Crap memory here… ;o)

  3. wendy davis says:

    As far as I could tell day before yesterday, Levin and McCain believed they had more than 61 votes.

    But might not the vote change if Obama did veto it, which I can’t see, frankly. And I haven’t thought through what might come out of the Conference Committee.

    Thanks, Marcy.

  4. Tom Allen says:

    Yep, bless you Marcy. :-)

    The position of the Democrats (and the Republicans, in their way) seems to be: “Sure, it’s a dictatorship — but it’s a BENEVOLENT dictatorship! And you trust us, don’t you, rather than those other guys?” Riiight, that’s never worked out badly in the history of the world. :-(

  5. joanneleon says:

    Thanks for all of the writing on this, Marcy.

    I’m having a failure of imagination on this and that doesn’t happen very often anymore with these Dems and even less so with the Repubs.

    Are they seriously going to do this? I hate to admit this but I am really scared. Things keep getting more and more extreme on a number of fronts. But to have them speaking out publicly about how America is part of the battlefield, citizen or not, and constantly expanding the covert wars abroad – it just scares the shit out of me. I almost wish I didn’t know what was going on.

  6. PeasantParty says:

    People! We have to start a Norquist style threat on those critters. I will work furiously to remove any legislator from office that supports removing Freedom and Democracy from America.

    Period!

  7. skinla says:

    “Ron Paul and Mark Kirk are the only two Republicans to vote in favor of Udall.”
    I assume you mean Senator RAND PAUL of Kansas (and not Ron Paul, the presidential candidate)

  8. Jeff Kaye says:

    @wendy davis: Look for article at Truthout, tomorrow, I think.

    I’ve cut back on my writing due to work and family obligations. What that means is no cut back on substantive articles, but a definite reduction in daily/weekly blogging.

  9. greenwarrior says:

    Thank you, Marcy.

    I find these provisions to be the worst news I’ve ever heard. We are really going down a very bad rabbit hole.

  10. emptywheel says:

    @JP: This one?

    SA 1112. Mr. UDALL of Colorado submitted an amendment intended to be proposed by him to the bill S. 1867, to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2012 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes; which was ordered to lie on the table; as follows:

    At the end of section 1031, add the following:

    (f) Extension to United States Citizens and Lawful Resident Aliens.–The authority of the Armed Forces of the United States to detain covered persons under this section extends to citizens of the United States and lawful resident aliens of the United States, except to the extent prohibited by the Constitution of the United States.

    Interesting.

  11. Larue says:

    @Yaw:

    I don’t think you understand this vote is meaningless, and SciFi/Boxer are likely in FULL support of indefinite detention, by military and by local police which will come soon after military is legislated and approved.

    This is kabuki, Senate Kabuki, some are sent as good guys, some are sent as bad guys, but the 1% agenda is ALWAYS fulfilled by all Senators, or else they would not BE Senators.

    Indefinite detention is inevitable, the attack against dissent by the masses is in full swing, and sooner than later people WILL begin to be ‘disappeared’ because of dissent in public, in print, in broadcast and on the internet.

    If you don’t grok this, the learning curve won’t be steep for you when they come for you.

    Have a nice, if somewhat naive, day.

  12. Larue says:

    @joe jones:

    Ok, I figgered out that if I click in the right place, it will lead me back to the comment in question.

    So, Nope Joe, I’m not backwards on SciFi/Boxer.

    Their NO votes are meaningless, they both will end up on the side of indefinite retention . . . and as Mz. Wheeler has pointed out in her diaries on this subject, and in comments here once again, specifically to Yaw, SfiFi knows the score.

    For god’s sake man, she’s in the Intelligence Committe, she’s the HEAD of it isn’t she? N her husband is a maker of war goods and is a war profiteer going back to his days with blue jeans and such.

    Please.

    These Senate Fucks one and all are all IN on indefinite detention and they would LOVE for the local police to get it after the military is legislated and approved to ‘disappear’ any and all who would dissent.

    You ain’t safe, ya know, once this is done . . . they WILL come for you, also.

    Cuz once this shit is done, they come for every one.

    You’ll get a knock on yer door one day, a guy or two (maybe one gal) with dark aviator shades and dark suits asking you to do something in service to the state, that you’ll find too personal or distasteful.

    N if ya don’t do it, gone. That’s how it happens, and you ain’t immune, no matter HOW deep into the 1% oligarchy you might think you are.

    Have a nice day. ;-)

  13. Larue says:

    @Larue:

    My reply @26 was NOT intended to go to Mz. Wheeler, I’ve requested it be deleted . . . I FULLY concur with Mz. WHeeler’s musings and thots on this issue . . . I’m not sure WHO it was intended now, so, it’s best deleted . . lol

  14. wendy davis says:

    @JP:

    Those are exactly the sections that had the ACLU’s hair on fire.

    “In support of this harmful bill, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained that the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial “American citizen or not.” Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) also declared that the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

    The solution is the Udall Amendment; a way for the Senate to say no to indefinite detention without charge or trial anywhere in the world where any president decides to use the military. Instead of simply going along with a bill that was drafted in secret and is being jammed through the Senate, the Udall Amendment deletes the provisions and sets up an orderly review of detention power. It tries to take the politics out and put American values back in.

    In response to proponents of the indefinite detention legislation who contend that the bill “applies to American citizens and designates the world as the battlefield,” and that the “heart of the issue is whether or not the United States is part of the battlefield,” Sen. Udall disagrees, and says that we can win this fight without worldwide war and worldwide indefinite detention.

    The senators pushing the indefinite detention proposal have made their goals very clear that they want an okay for a worldwide military battlefield, that even extends to your hometown. That is an extreme position that will forever change our country.”

    UPDATE: Don’t be confused by anyone claiming that the indefinite detention legislation does not apply to American citizens. It does. There is an exemption for American citizens from the mandatory detention requirement (section 1032 of the bill), but no exemption for American citizens from the authorization to use the military to indefinitely detain people without charge or trial (section 1031 of the bill). So, the result is that, under the bill, the military has the power to indefinitely imprison American citizens, but it does not have to use its power unless ordered to do so.

    But you don’t have to believe us. Instead, read what one of the bill’s sponsors, Sen. Lindsey Graham said about it on the Senate floor: “1031, the statement of authority to detain, does apply to American citizens and it designates the world as the battlefield, including the homeland.”

    There you have it — indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial. And the Senate is likely to vote on it Monday or Tuesday.

    I posted a strictly cut-and-paste diary about it, not knowing much about the law, but suspecting strongly that they were right to be so concerned; washingtonsblog.com has been debating it in the comments thread; Carl Herman points out that these sections coupled with the 2006 and 2009 Military Commissions Act spell it out.

    Reader Beth weighed in with this:

    “Hmmm. There is a deliberate vagueness in the definition of ‘unprivileged enemy belligerent’ that I don’t like. Quoting the definition from Title XVIII, Chapter 47A, Subchapter I, Section 948a (7): “UNPRIVILEGED ENEMY BELLIGERENT.—The term ‘unprivileged enemy belligerent’ means an individual (other than a privileged belligerent) who—‘‘(A) has engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; (B) has purposefully and materially supported hostilities
    against the United States or its coalition partners; or (C) was a part of al Qaeda at the time of the alleged offense under this chapter.”
    The term Coalition Partner is defined a few lines earlier in Section 948a (3) as: “COALITION PARTNER.—The term ‘coalition partner’, with respect to hostilities engaged in by the United States, means any State or armed force directly engaged along with the United States in such hostilities or providing direct operational support to the United States in connection with such hostilities.”
    It’d be nice to assume that only Al-Qaeda and affiliated entities or 9/11 terrorists is what is really meant, and so go back to sleep, but the deliberate vagueness in terms opens up for our government the ability to attribute ‘hostilities’ to whomever it decides is ‘belligerent’ to it and a threat to its policies, such as suggested above in the article. Don’t think it beneath our government to act in the fashion this article suggests.
    Constitutional limitation? Yeesh, our 3 government branches have been making a mockery over the last few years especially of the Constitution, operating in manners not proscribed by it, such as the Persident sending the military over to Libya without Congressional approval. Like it’s reasonable to trust the government in this specific area to be Constitutional?”

    Hope I’m not over-stepping in my ignorance; I’m just mighty worried at these developments, NOT, as you say, this stuff hasn’t been de facto policy already.

  15. Shawn says:

    SASC?

    Marcy, please remember that you have some casual readers who aren’t aware of EVERY abbreviation (or nickname) you use. I love your writing but I have no idea what SASC (once you explain it I’ll smack my head in shame) stands for.

  16. klynn says:

    People are in the dark. EW, thanks for this post.

    Thank you to JP as well.

    Reading this after your ACLU post gives me a chill. The two posts have interesting overlap.

  17. gwennie says:

    what, my AK senators don’t vote yay or nay?

    Begich. Find butt. Remove head.

    [I am now known as ‘Senator Kabuki’]
    thanks emptywheel, for the update. You’re like a GPS system : )
    Senator Kabuki

  18. emptywheel says:

    @Tara: Actually, Menendez changed his vote after the initial vote was announced. Yes, he formally is on record voting for it. Now.

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