The 6th Amendment states:
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense."
The first thing that is unconstitutional about this new law is the fact that these suspects are not being given the right to a jury. They are being tried by military personal who are far from impartial. Not to be cynical but something tells me that a member of the armed forces may not be completely impartial towards someone accused (it's important to remember that these people have not been found guilty of anything) of killing American soldiers or plotting to.
Also they are not being informed of "the nature and cause of the accusation" in most cases. They are simply arrested for "suspicion of terrorist activity". How much more fague can you be?
The next part I am not sure of yet but I am researching and maybe someone knows the answer to this. Are these suspects being allowed to bring witnesses on their behalf? And are they being allowed access to legal council? Like I said, not sure of the answer, but trying to find out.
Then of course their is the big part of this Amendment the right to a "speedy and public trial" These suspects are not being allowed a public trial and considering most have been detained for years I would say that it is far from speedy.
Now even if you are able to look past this somehow their is one other thing. The writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum has been used since long before the U.S. was a country and has been celebrated as one of the best ways to protect freedom for centuries. The U.S. has a law which makes this not just an idea, but legally binding.
This writ allows an individual who has been detained but not yet proven guilty of a crime the right to challenge the legality of their detention. The bill that just passed in the Senate does not allow prisoners to call for habeas corpus, a clear violation of civil liberties, even if not Constitutional Liberties. The right to challenge your arrest is what keeps our legal system fair. Those who are arresting know that they can be asked to prove that they had justification to detain someone and therefore they are more likely to ensure that they actually have reason. Take this away and you have situations like the detention of Maher Arar who was detained and tortured on suspicion of terrorism when he had no real ties to terrorism at all. While mistakes like this may still happen at least with habeas corpus he would have had the opportunity to challenge his arrest and possibly shown then that he did not have any real ties, ending that horrible ordeal before it began.
It is imperative that those of us who still believe in freedom to stand up and let the Administration and Congress know that we will not allow them to take anymore of our freedoms away. Although this has now been passed in Congress and is expected to be signed by the President it can still be challenged by the ultimate protector of freedom The Supreme Court. Although I originally was worried with some of the nominations last year I have been happy to see that the Court has upheld the freedoms of the people non-politically the way that it was meant to do. I urge all of you to please write to the Supreme Court and urge them to challenge this new law and protect the 6th Amendment. Letters can be sent to:
Public Information Officer
Supreme Court of the United States
Washington, DC 20543
Please take part in this very important issue.