Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), and Senator Mark Udall (CO), a member of the Senate Armed Services and Intelligence committees, unveiled legislation (summary) at a press conference today to ensure that any individual detained on U.S. soil under the Authorization of Military Force (AUMF) has access to due process and the federal court system.
The bills also prohibit military commissions and indefinite detention for individuals detained in the United States and affirms that any trial proceedings "shall have all the due process as provided for under the Constitution."
In unveiling their companion bills, Smith and Udall made the following joint statement:
"Current law gives the executive branch too much power. By ensuring all due process rights enshrined in the Constitution, our legislation protects civil rights and ensures national security. The bills clarify that the only options for anyone detained in the United States pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) are Article III courts (federal) and state courts. They prohibit military commissions and indefinite detention.
"In addition to protecting civil liberties, these bills strengthen one of our strongest assets in trying suspected terrorists: Article III courts and domestic law enforcement. Federal courts have a proven track record of success: Over 400 defendants charged with crimes related to international terrorism have been successfully convicted in the United States since 9/11.
"Additionally, our civilian law enforcement also has a proven track record of success as demonstrated by the recent mandatory life sentence received by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the "underwear bomber." This conviction builds on a history of success. In fact, more than 300 individuals convicted of crimes related to international terrorism are currently incarcerated in federal prisons within the United States with no escapes or retaliatory attack.
"While some claim we should shy away using a court system that has been a model for the world for more than 200 years, we believe that we should embrace it. We should not fear our Constitution. We should embrace it."