One Small Step For Justice

by digby

Good News:

The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted for the Specter/Leahy habeas restoration bill. The committee sent it to the floor with no amendments, no debate and on almost a party line vote (with the GOP sponsor, Senator Arlen Specter from Pennsylvania voting in favor).

Kudos to all the Democratic senators who showed up and waited for a quorum (critical mass for a vote); Senator Feinstein came in just under the buzzer.

Senators voting aye: Leahy (D-Vt.), Specter (R-Pa.), Kennedy (D-Ma.), Biden (D-Del.), Kohl (D-Wis.), Feinstein (D-Cal.), Feingold (D-Wis.), Schumer (D-N.Y.), Durbin (D-Ill.), Cardin (D-Md.), Whitehouse (D-R.I.).

Senators voting nay: all the other Republicans (Hatch, Grassley, Kyl, Sessions, Graham, Cornyn, Brownback, Coburn).

Though far from the comprehensive legislation needed to either close Gitmo and transfer the detainees into secure proceedings in civilian courts, or provide the detainees with a full and fair opportunity to challenge the grounds for their detentions, S. 185 is a crucial piece of lawmaking.

It signals to the White House and the Republican minority in Congress that this is a real issue, and that the quick and dirty passage of the MCA in the final days of the GOP-controlled 109th Congress was ill-advised and somewhat ham-handed.

Ill advised and "ham-handed" are not the words I would use. I'd call it craven political malpractice but that's just me.

This nearly party line vote just shows, once again, that the Republican Party has become a depraved and lawless party. In one breath they rend their garments over Scooter Libby being forced to pay the price for lying repeatedly under oath and obstructing justice in a national security investigation. In the next, they vote once again to degrade the most fundamental constitutional right we have for no other reason than puerile, macho posturing that will actually make the nation less secure.

These law 'n order, national security tough guys are a bunch of pearl clutching, incoherent ninnies who don't have the integrity or the intelligence to protect a bunch of first graders crossing the street, much less the nation. Now let's see if the Democrats can hold together even though the empty codpiece will veto it and mewl about how the terrorists are coming to kill their children. Maybe we can convince them that this is a good test case for challenging the idea that the taunts and threats of a 28% lame duck president and his would-be psychotic successors is something they should be spending too much time worrying about right now.

In any case, doing the right thing on this one really should be a gut check and it's a good sign that they got it out of committee.

Update: Here's a post about the bill by Chris Dodd and you can follow his prescriptions for the next steps necessary to restore the constitution here.