Sunday, October 08, 2006

When Will the Military Commissions Act Become Law?

Marty Lederman

Not, it appears, for at least another week. The bill, S.3930, was "cleared" for the White House ten days ago, but has not yet actually been presented to the President, and so the ten-day clock has not yet begun to run. Odds are that the White House has asked the Congress to hold off, so that the Administration can schedule the signing statement for a date of its choosing.

According to White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino, the bill will not be signed this coming week, but "probably" will be signed next week, "I think on [Tuesday,] the 17th."


But the GOP made out that it was critical to pass this bill before the election. Now Bush doesn't know when he's going to sign it? Something doesn't compute here. Or, rather, something computes all too well.

By the way, what's the case law (if any) on presentation? How long can congress delay presenting a bill? For months? Years? Forever? If this power is unbounded, we will soon be treated to congresses passing loads of wishlist items that otherwise would be vetoed, then putting them on indefinite hold until the presidency is occupied by someone who won't veto them. That's a really Bad Thing because it separates the congressional debate (ha!) from the enactment, thus making it much more difficult for the public to supervise the congress and the president.

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I wonder how long it will take until this law comes before the supreme court.

This is from a report of "Deutsche Welle":
In a speech at the Brookings Institution on thursday, retired supreme court justice Sandra Day O'Connor cited the constitution, saying habeas corpus may only be supended in time of rebellion or invasion.

With a sense of irony she added, there were no cases of rebellion or invasion in the recent history of the united states. Everybody would come to that conclusion.
No one in the audience seemed to disagree.

JayH, got a link for that O'Connor bit? Sounds worth reading ...

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