Skip to Content

McCain-led NDAA Conference Committee Strips Right to Jury Trial

Dec 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, Sen. Rand Paul issued the following statement regarding the newly released National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 (NDAA) conference report.

The amendment, introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) and which passed with a 67-29 vote on Nov. 29, was designed to guarantee Americans the right to due process and a jury trial. These are basic and core American legal privileges prescribed in our Bill of Rights, which have been observed since our nation's founding. Removing these indefinite detention protections now means that the NDAA is in violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the Constitution.

"The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional," Sen. Paul said.

"I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my Senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act," Sen. Paul continued. "But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year's NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity.

"Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus - the right to be presented before a judge - is both questionable and not enough. Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole.

"Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators' convenience. When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury."

 

###

 

Contact Senator Rand Paul at One of his Offices

Bowling Green - Main State Office
1029 State Street
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Phone: 270-782-8303

Owensboro
423 Federica St, Ste 305
Owensboro, KY 42301
Phone: 270-689-9085

Crescent Springs
541 Buttermilk Pk Ste 102
Crescent Springs, KY 41017
Phone: 859-426-0165

Lexington
771 Corporate Dr, Ste 105
Lexington, KY 40503
Phone: 859-219-2239

Louisville
600 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pl,
Rm 1072B
Louisville, KY 40202
Phone: 502-582-5341

Hopkinsville
1100 S. Main St, Ste 12
Hopkinsville, KY 42240
Phone: 270-885-1212

Washington, DC
124 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510
Phone: 202-224-4343