Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) wants to end the U.S. government’s ability to detain people indefinitely, arguing that it violates Americans’ Sixth Amendment rights to a speedy and public trial.
He has proposed an amendment to the yearly, must-pass defense legislation authorizing Pentagon spending that would repeal a 2012 provision giving the president the ability to indefinitely detain anyone based on the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).
Paul, a Libertarian, has long-pushed for Congress to approve a new AUMF, arguing that it is a blank check for costly and unfettered war.
However, sources suspect that Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is secretly blocking the amendment from being included in a package of GOP amendments that would be voted on and attached to the defense bill, since its inclusion requires consent from all senators.
“It is inconceivable that in 2018, a senator would block language to prevent indefinite detention of Americans. What happened to the rule of law? Lindsey Graham should own up to this and explain to innocent Americans why he’s fine with detaining them indefinitely,” said a senior Senate aide.
Breitbart News reached out to Graham’s office to confirm whether it was true, but did not receive a response on that specific question.
Graham, a retired colonel, has in the past supported the ability to indefinitely detain those captured under the current AUMF and has opposed limits on the president’s ability to conduct war.
But Paul argues the law currently would also allow American citizens apprehended within the boundaries of the U.S. could be held indefinitely without trial.
“Giving the accused their day in court isn’t a suggestion,” Paul said in a statement to the Washington Examiner last year. “It’s enshrined in our Constitution as a cornerstone of our judicial system. My bill reminds our government that the Founders did not put an expiration date on the Sixth Amendment.”
The Sixth Amendment guarantees U.S. citizens the right to a “speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed … and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation.”
Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), a Constitutionalist who has also supported a new AUMF, has backed a similar bill to oppose indefinite detention unless specifically authorized by Congress.
“America should never waiver in vigilantly pursuing those who would commit, or plot to commit, acts of treason against our country,” Lee said in a statement last year. “But the federal government should not be allowed to indefinitely imprison any American on the mere accusation of treason without affording them the due process guaranteed by our Constitution.”