SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, is among a nonpartisan group of senators who introduced a bill Wednesday to protect Americans from being detained indefinitely without a charge or trial.
“America should never waver in vigilantly pursuing those who would commit, or plot to commit, acts of treason against our country,” Lee said in statement. “But the federal government should not be allowed to indefinitely imprison any American on the mere accusation of treason without affording them the due process guaranteed by our Constitution."
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.; Susan Collins, R-Maine; Chris Coons, D-Del.; and Lee are co-sponsoring the Due Process Guarantee Act.
"We must not betray our country’s most sacred values by making a false choice between civil liberties and national security,” Feinstein said in a statement.
The bill is a step toward making that clear in the law that no one should be detained indefinitely without charges or a trial, she said.
"We have demonstrated time and again that the federal court system is perfectly capable of handling terrorists," Feinstein said.
In recent years, some have argued that the indefinite detention of Americans is permissible under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force.
The bill would clarify that authorization and others couldn't be construed as acts of Congress that permit indefinite detention and puts into law the "clear statement rule" to clarify that indefinite detention can only occur if Congress expressly authorizes it, according to the senators.