|For Immediate Release
May 21, 2013
Contact: Kathryn Rexrode or Jessica Collins, (202) 225-3951
House Judiciary Committee to Look at Rights of U.S. Citizens During War on Terror
Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the House Judiciary Committee will hold a full committee hearing entitled, “Protecting U.S. Citizens’ Constitutional Rights During the War on Terror.” The hearing will gather information and discuss the status of U.S. citizens’ constitutional rights during the ongoing war on terror with a particular focus on the authority to indefinitely detain U.S. citizen enemy combatants under the U.S. Constitution captured on U.S. soil.
Just over a decade ago, Congress responded to the September 11th terrorist attacks by approving an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) authorizing the President to use all necessary and appropriate military force to eliminate al Qaeda, as well as drive the Taliban from power and eliminate the al Qaeda safe haven from the territory under Taliban control. Many have expressed concerned that the AUMF and subsequent National Defense Authorization Acts authorize the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens on United States soil. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released the following statement in advance of tomorrow’s hearing.
Chairman Goodlatte: “Since the attacks of September 11th, the United States has been engaged in a war to root out terrorism in order to protect the citizens of the United States from further terrorist attacks. During this war on terror, troops have captured and detained numerous terrorists who have taken up arms against the United States and against her innocent citizens.
“However, during the war on terror we must ensure that Americans are afforded all of their constitutional protections. Anytime an American citizen is arrested on U.S. soil, he or she should not be detained indefinitely and should be tried in a civilian court. As we seek to protect the homeland, we must be careful not to trade our personal freedoms for the promise of security. Once we sacrifice the civil liberties that our nation was founded on, we allow terrorism to defeat us.”
Witnesses for tomorrow’s hearing include:
Mr. Robert M. Chesney, Charles I. Francis Professor of Law, The University of Texas School of Law;
Mr. Benjamin Wittes, Senior Fellow and Research Director in Public Law, The Brookings Institution;
Mr. Steven A. Engel, Partner, Dechert, LLP; and
Ms. Mary Ellen O’Connell, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame, The Law School.
The hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn. All House Judiciary Committee hearings are webcast live at www.judiciary.house.gov. For more information about this hearing, visit http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/113th/hear_05222013.html