Last week representatives Adam Smith (D-WA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) proposed amending HR-4310, (National Defense Authorization Act) to end indefinite detention of terrorism suspects and require due process for those suspected of crimes. The amendment would have ensured that the following due process rules are followed.

  • Military detention. Prohibits transfer to military custody for detention of any person seized or detained in the United States under the Legislation.
  • Military trials. Prohibits military trial of any person detained in the United States under the legislation.
  • Transfer to civilian authorities. Requires immediate transfer of any person detained in the United States under the legislation to civilian authorities for civilian trial, with Due Process guarantees.
  • Trials in civilian courts. Recognizes federal Article III courts and, as appropriate, state courts as the exclusive forums for trying persons detained in the United States under the legislation.
  • Mandatory military custody. Repeals a section of NDAA FY 12 that requires military custody for some terrorism suspects.

Unfortunately, the amendment failed. In NJ, the vote was divided almost completely by Party affiliation. All the Republicans in NJ opposed this. All the Democrats in NJ, except for one abstention, supported it. Nationwide 219 Republicans opposed this recognition of due process that has always been inherent in our system of justice. Only 19 Republicans supported it.  Among the 19 Republicans who supported it was former LP Presidential nominee Ron Paul

NJ Representatives who voted against this amendment included Republicans Frank LoBiondo (2nd district), Jon Runyan, (3rd district), Chris Smith (4th district), Scott Garrett (5th district), Leonard Lance (7th district), and Rodney Frelinghuysen (11th district).

Those who voted for it included Democrats Rob Andrews (1st District), Frank Pallone (6th District), Steve Rothman (9th District), Rush Holt (12th district) and Albio Sires (13th district). Bill Pascrell (8th district) didn't vote.