phonepad.jpgSen. Pat Leahy needs you to make a few phone calls today on behalf of your Constitution.

Many of you may recall the hasty passage of the Military Commissions Act in the weeks leading up to last year's election, a bill that set new rules for trying detainees, in particular those currently being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

The passage of this bill was a profound mistake, and its elimination of habeas corpus review was its worst error. Righting this wrong is one of my top priorities, and on the first day of this Congress I joined with Senator Arlen Specter to introduce the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act (S. 185). This bipartisan bill already has 17 cosponsors, but it faces a crucial vote in the Judiciary Committee this Thursday so we need your help.

If you have a few minutes to spare, it would be much appreciated of you could make a few phone calls to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee — and also to your own Senators.  Here's a list of the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI)
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Benjamin Cardin
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
Se. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)

Katymine put together a list of toll-free numbers for the capitol switchboard:

1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437

While you are at it, feel free to call your Senators even if they aren't currently serving on the Judiciary Committee — because once this gets past committee, it will go to the full Senate for discussion and debate.  Thanks for any calls you can make today, gang.  Much appreciated.  You can find information about habeas and why restoration is important here.  More from the Boston Globe and from NPR (here and here) on recent rulings regarding habeas issues and unlawful enemy combatant detainees.

We have a special chat coming up tomorrow on the habeas issue with folks from the ACLU.  You can read more about what the ACLU has been doing on the issue — from the Patriot Act through to the MCA vote and beyond — here on their website.  I hope you will join us tomorrow (Thursday) at 3:00 pm ET/12:00 pm PT for a discussion on the efforts to restore habeas fully — this is an important issue, and goes to the core of who we are versus who we ought to be.  I'll have much more on this tomorrow, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up to note it on the calendar.  Hope to see you there!

UPDATEThe Habeas restoration bill S.185 is sponsored currently by the following:  Authored by Sen. Specter

here’s the co-sponsor list (specter is the bill’s author):  (via selise — thanks much!)

Sen Biden, Joseph R., Jr. [DE] – 5/24/2007
Sen Brown, Sherrod [OH] – 2/26/2007
Sen Cantwell, Maria [WA] – 5/7/2007
Sen Clinton, Hillary Rodham [NY] – 2/28/2007
Sen Dodd, Christopher J. [CT] – 3/7/2007
Sen Durbin, Richard [IL] – 5/22/2007
Sen Feingold, Russell D. [WI] – 2/28/2007
Sen Feinstein, Dianne [CA] – 2/26/2007
Sen Harkin, Tom [IA] – 3/14/2007
Sen Kennedy, Edward M. [MA] – 6/5/2007
Sen Kerry, John F. [MA] – 5/15/2007
Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] – 2/28/2007
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT] – 1/4/2007
Sen Levin, Carl [MI] – 4/17/2007
Sen Obama, Barack [IL] – 4/20/2007
Sen Rockefeller, John D., IV [WV] – 3/29/2007
Sen Salazar, Ken [CO] – 2/26/2007
Sen Whitehouse, Sheldon [RI] – 5/9/2007