Graham Amendment Would Bar Trials of Terror Suspects in Federal Court
When I wrote my earlier post about the group of illustrious Americans urging the Obama administration to close Guantanamo and bring suspected terrorists to justice in U.S. federal courts, I neglected to mention that Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), joined by Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.), is today pushing a measure that aims to do just the opposite.
The Graham amendment is expected to come to a vote today during consideration of the Commerce/Justice/Science appropriations bill. The earlier Homeland Security and Defense Department spending bills already include restrictions on transferring Guantanamo detainees to the United States.
This restriction, which is reportedly backed by 150 family members of victims of the 9/11 attacks, would bar the trials of the alleged 9/11 plotters in civilian federal courts, effectively forcing them to be tried by military commissions.
The Obama administration has suggested that it wants to try the 9/11 suspects in federal court, and so far has fought to retain the power to decide where the terror suspects will be tried. Last week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Attorney General Eric Holder warned Senate leaders that Graham’s amendment “would be unwise, and would set a dangerous precedent.”
The administration has said it will begin announcing where it wants to try the terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay by November 16.