U.S. Senator Rand Paul has reintroduced S. 1300, the Sixth Amendment Preservation Act, to reassert the constitutional guarantee of a speedy trial in all prosecutions.
Dr. Paul’s legislation would prevent any future authorization of military force from being used to justify indefinitely detaining any person in America without trial.
“Giving the accused their day in court isn’t a suggestion,” said Dr. Paul. “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.”
Section 1021 of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act unconstitutionally declares that the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows our Armed Forces to indefinitely detain citizens, legal residents, and foreign nationals who are alleged to have engaged in hostilities against the United States. This means U.S. citizens apprehended within the boundaries of the U.S. could be held indefinitely without trial.
The Sixth Amendment Preservation Act restores our nation’s constitutional commitment to individual liberty by repealing Section 1021.
“If you’re a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Green card holder and you’re arrested on American soil because you’re suspected of supporting a terrorist group or other enemy of the United States, the federal government has claimed the power to detain you indefinitely without formally charging you or without offering you a trial,” said Paul in 2016. “I’m not talking about American citizens who travel to foreign lands to take up arms against the United States military and are captured on the battlefield. No, I’m talking here about U.S. Citizens who are apprehended right here in the United States of America.”
“In clear and straightforward language, my amendment clarifies that a general authorization to use military force, a declaration of war or any similar authority, on its own shall not be construed to authorize the imprisonment or detention without charge or — detention without charge or trial of a doesn’t of the United States apprehended in the United States,” said Paul.