Tuesday, October 17, 2006

STATEMENT: U.S. Rep. John Olver explains his vote against two "anti-terrorism" bills

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 14:36:29 -0400
From: Olver Newsletter < Olver.Newsletter@MAIL.HOUSE.GOV >
Subject: Civil Liberties E-Newsletter

Dear Constituent:

As you may know, before adjourning last month Congress passed legislation
that infringes on the civil liberties of Americans and eliminates the
constitutional rights of military detainees. I wanted to update you on the
content and consequences of these significant pieces of legislation.

First, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 5825, the Electronic
Surveillance Modernization Act, by a vote of 232-191 on September 28, 2006.
This legislation authorizes the President's secret spying program, which is
already known to bypass the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
(FISA) court in order to conduct electronic surveillance without a court
order. I voted against this legislation because instead of reigning in the
Administration's program it expands the Administration's ability to conduct
warrantless surveillance on innocent Americans. This legislation would also
eliminate all pending legal challenges against the current surveillance
program, removing the courts from the review process. This is a serious
affront to our constitutionally guaranteed system of checks and balances and
the responsibilities of the Federal Judiciary. The Senate has not yet
considered legislation on this issue.

On September 29, 2006 the House of Representatives passed S. 3930, the
Military Commissions Bill by a vote of 250-170. The Senate passed this
legislation a day earlier by a vote of 65-34. I voted against this
legislation because of the grave implications it holds for the American
judicial system and the constitutional rights of prisoners. S. 3930 creates
a new and untested military tribunal system. It also denies terrorist
suspects their rights, including the right of habeas corpus, which has been
a mainstay in the American legal system for over two centuries. Without
habeas corpus suspects will have no mechanism to challenge their detentions
in court, leaving them subject to the possibility of indefinite detention.
Despite these repercussions, the President signed this legislation into law
this morning.

Please be assured that I will continue to work to protect our privacy and
civil liberties.

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have further questions or
concerns about a particular issue.


John W. Olver
Member of Congress


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