Senate Achieves Craven Punt on Indefinite Detention

Update: The vote on 1126–which would exempt Americans from indefinite detention–was defeated 45-55. Democrats voting for indefinite detention include Begich, Blumenthal, Inouye, Klobuchar, Landrieu, Lieberman, Levin, Manchin, Bad Nelson, Pryor, Reed, Stabenow, Whitehouse. Republicans voting against indefinite detention include Collins, Kirk, Lee, Moran, and Paul.

Update 2: The craven compromise vote won 99-1. Kyl was the lone opponent.

Update 3: Here’s the roll call for the entire package, which passed 93-7. The no votes were Coburn, Harkin, Lee, Merkley, Paul, Sanders, Wyden.

So now we know why there was a 2 hour delay in the vote on Dianne Feinstein’s amendment exempting American citizens from the detainee provision language authorizing indefinite detention: the Senate was busy crafting a craven “compromise.”

Effectively, they’re holding votes on 2 DiFi amendments: the one that would exempt Americans (which will almost certainly fall narrowly short). And one that would say, “Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing authorities rel detention of US citizens, resident aliens.” (which will have big majorities in support).

Now, DiFi says that’s achieves her goal–not changing the status quo. But of course, we’ve spent the last two weeks talking about how current law, under Hamdi and Padilla decisions, authorizes indefinite detention of American citizens. So, while, the amendment doesn’t do much, it also doesn’t prevent Americans from being detained.

The compromise does do one thing: continue the state of confusion among Americans on whether their most fundamental rights still apply. I think they had to include such language if for no other reason than to appease the Tea Party, which knows well enough to worry about such things. But it also means some Republicans who might otherwise have supported DiFi’s original language can now vote for the compromise instead.

One more interesting tidbit: DiFi claims this is a victory because of an agreement Carl Levin and John McCain made with her to keep the compromise language in the bill in conference. They told her point blank that the language protecting Americans would be taken out in conference. So this vote on guarding the Constitutional rights of Americans? It’s all for show anyway, because the undemocratic conference would take it out in any case.

It’s probably just as well. They took just 16 minutes total to hold this debate.


10 replies
  1. Larue says:

    Like an out of control mountain railroad locomotive downhill.

    It’s all happening so fast . . . Manning and Occupy likely made the hearts of the 1% flutter a bit hence the depth and sudden rapidity of these rights issues . . . soon all dissent will be ‘disappearable.

    Le Sigh.

  2. Larue says:

    N a big thanks Mz. Wheeler for all you’ve done (and do) since I ‘met’ cha on the steps outside the Libby Trial with that Hamsher Woman, live blogging!

    The two of you keep us all informed, bless ya.

  3. MadDog says:

    The ceremonial kabuki of washing the Congressional hands. See, they are clean!

    If you Amerikanski are secretly wiretapped, indefinitely detained, or assassinated all by your own government, our Congressional hands are clean. Blame it on that cruel and heartless Executive Branch or Supreme Court, but not on us. We be clean!

  4. Larue says:


    Pretty much Maddog but it still don’t stop the killin of we the people.

    We got ourselves a major problem here and now, and that problem is gonna get worse, fast.

    What to do, what to do . . .

  5. geoschmidt says:

    Hey there”!! mr/ms Larue: nice to see you, from your little hole over in ” SacraTomato.” (as Dr. Rose used to say… )

    [“Like an out of control mountain railroad locomotive downhill
    It’s all happening so fast . . . Manning and Occupy likely made the hearts of the 1% flutter
    soon all dissent will be ‘disappearable.
    Le Sigh.”]

    Le sigh… ?
    I will give you … Le Sigh… you piece of shit! Le sigh up your… YinYang!…
    You pissed me off when you “”” flagged me””” that is not cool. I mean why did you do that and for what purpose?
    My entre’s are maybe not always great… agreed, but IMOpinion, I move things towards where we will make further sense of it all.
    When you said “You are so flagged… Ga bye… !”” so are you happy now? you don’t have ole “Geoshmoe” : “to kick around any more” Hey get a senseahumourtoo!

  6. jerryy says:

    Since these folks keep claiming that we are actually at war (that AUMF thing) and want to use the military to handle obliterating the Constitution, can they then be charged with things like ‘cowardice in the face of the enemy’, ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy’.?

  7. P J Evans says:

    They haven’t thought it through: a future (and possibly not very far future) administration (all two or three controlling members) could disappear or imprison them.

    You know, I would think people who have been in politics for more than six months would be as aware of this kind of possibility as the people out here in the real world. It isn’t like they haven’t had plenty of warning.

  8. geoschmidt says:

    larue… who I think put in the word for to get me offed , OK, but so fine, I think you ain’t that bad of a… word… oh call you … a snake. But… really…. you are a ….

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