UPDATE: This amendment passed on September 29, 2012. See the roll call vote here. Also, see Sen. Rand Paul's statement of victory here, and Sen. Mike Lee's statement of clarification on what the amendment accomplished here.
Although the vote has already taken place we have purposefully kept this petition active. In the event you haven't yet signed you still can -- however, we would ask you to edit the text of the letter and offer your own words of thanks or dispraise to your U.S. Senators regarding their actions late last week. (See the roll call to check their votes).
On November 28th, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would protect American citizens from being indefinitely detained. The amendment, which is cosponsored by several other Republican and Democratic senators, uses essentially the same language as the Due Process Guarantee Act, which Feinstein and Lee introduced last year. The language of the amendment assures that no authorization to use military force, war declaration, or any similar authority would allow an American apprehended in the United States to be held without charge or trial.
Senator Lee said on the Senate floor1:
"We must stand behind our 225-year-old founding document as it’s been amended to ensure our liberty isn’t taken away from us, to give us a path to providing for our security without jeopardizing the freedom that our American citizens cherish so much and have fought so hard and so long to protect. Granting the United States government the power to deprive its own citizens of life, liberty, or property without full due process of law goes against the very nature of our nation’s great constitutional values. This amendment, the Feinstein-Lee amendment, protects those values.”
Senator Feinsten added2,
“The beauty of our Constitution is that it gives everyone in the United States basic due process rights to a trial by a jury of their peers. That is what makes this nation great. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the plurality in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, ‘[A]s critical as the government’s interest may be in detaining those who actually pose an immediate threat to the national security of the United States during ongoing international conflict, history and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others who do not present that sort of threat.’
“The federal government experimented with indefinite detention of United States citizens during World War II, a mistake we now recognize as a betrayal of our core values. Let’s not repeat it.”
One of the amendment's sponors, Senator Rand Paul, defended the Lee-Feinstein amendment, saying 3:
"The right to trial by jury was a check on oppressive government. Opponents of the right to trial by jury will come today and they will argue that the American homeland is now a battlefield and that we must circumscribe our right to trial by jury to be safe from terrorists. But if we give up our rights, have not the terrorists won? If we let fear relinquish our rights, if we relinquish our rights because of fear, what is it exactly then we’re fighting for?"
Take Action -- Sign the Petition and Send Letters to your U.S. Sentators and tell them tosupport the Feinstein-Lee Amendment to protect Americans and Trial By Jury by Amending the National Defense Authorization Act!