Back in September of 2006, around the time that the provisions gutting habeas were passed in the Senate, former Reagan Justice official Bruce Fein was interviewed on The Newshour on PBS in a discussion opposite David Rivkin, who served as the designated Bush Administration policy promoter. Bruce Fein said something which has stuck with me since that show — that the United States government is acting much like the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, “Sentence first, verdict after.”
We are better than this. We are better than jailing people in perpetuity without a determination of innocence or guilt. And we owe a debt, both to our founders and to future generations, to right this profound wrong.
We can take a step in that direction this morning. Please take some time to call your elected representatives and tell them that you want to see the full restoration of habeas corpus. And that actions speak much louder than words — so you would like action on this now. If you happen to be represented by Sen. Pat Leahy, Sen. Chris Dodd, Sen. Carl Levin, Rep. John Conyers, Rep. Jack Murtha or Rep. Ike Skelton, please be certain to make calls to these gentlemen, as their action on this issue is critical to the restoration of our nation’s constitutional principles. Sen. Leahy has put together something on his website to help lobby Senators — a direct phone call carries more weight than an e-mail, but it doesn’t hurt to double up a bit. Please take some time to make the three calls to your elected representative: your call as a constituent — or even as a concerned American — could make all the difference in moving things forward.
Katymine provided some numbers for the capitol switchboard, which you can use to phone toll free — the two bills in question on restoring habeas are H.R. 1416 and S. 185. Encourage your representatives not just to vote for these bills, but also to sign on as co-sponsors. Standing up for the Constitution and the rule of law is important — we need to make certain they know we want action, not just lip service. Here are the toll-free phone numbers:
1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437
Please, make a few calls today — your nation, your constitution and the rule of law are depending on you.
And if you live in the DC metro area, there will be a rally for the restoration of habeas and the rule of law today: WHEN: Tuesday, June 26, 2007 – Rally from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; WHERE: Upper Senate Park (Constitution Ave. between New Jersey and Delaware Avenues, NE), Washington, DC; The event is being sponsored by the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International (USA), the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. You can find more information on this event here. Also, please take some time to sign the petition which will be delivered throughout the day to members of Congress — you can sign here.
Every little bit helps. Frankly, I’d like to see us light up that switchboard and bend some Congressional ears on this one. After all of the Dick Cheney reading we have been doing this week, I need to take some action. I’d love it if you would join me in making a few calls on your nation’s behalf.
We are better than this, and it is past time that every elected official on the Hill remembered that. Let’s help them along, shall we?