Issue: Amendment 46, H.R. 4310 National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013.
Result: Amendment failed, 182 to 238, 11 not voting. Republicans scored.
Bill Summary: This amendment to the FY2012 National Defense Authorization Act sought to eliminate indefinite military detention of persons under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) in U.S. territories or possessions. It would provide for their immediate transfer to trial and proceedings by a court established under Article III of the Constitution of the United states or by an appropriate State court.
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Analysis: In the immediate wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Congress granted the president the authority to use “all necessary and appropriate force” against those whom he determined “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the attacks, or who harbored said persons or groups.
A major, little understood objective of terrorism is to provide the pretext for the government to become repressive. Both true constitutionalists and liberals posing as constitutionalists have warned that the federal government has been given way too much authority to enter people’s homes, arrest them and hold them indefinitely — and that the proposed defense authorization bill for FY2013 would make matters worse.
Opponents noted that, unless amended, the bill would allow American citizens to be jailed indefinitely for even a one-time contribution to a humanitarian group that’s later linked to terrorism. Amendment 46, proposed by Republican Adam Smith of Washington, sought to correct that violation of rights the Constitution (in particular, the Bill of Rights) was designed to protect.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Ayes and (bad vote) to the Noes. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)