Tester defends Constitution, sponsors bill to prevent indefinite detention without due process

Senator keeps up his fight for Montanans’ civil rights

(U.S. SENATE) – Senator Jon Tester is defending Montanans’ Constitutional rights by backing legislation that prohibits the U.S. military from indefinitely detaining American citizens without due process.

Tester’s bipartisan bill blocks the military from indefinitely detaining American citizens apprehended inside the United States unless it presses charges.  It would also prevent the President from authorizing indefinite detention without Congressional authorization.

Tester’s action follows the passage of a Defense Department funding bill that raised questions about whether the military could detain U.S. citizens without due process.  Tester supported numerous amendments to that bill aiming to prevent indefinite detention and guarantee Americans’ civil rights, but they failed to win the support needed to pass.  Tester supported the overall bill because he “could not vote against Montana’s Airmen, National Guardsmen, or American troops overseas.”

Tester called his new measure necessary to uphold core Constitutional rights.

“American citizenship is an honor that comes with certain inalienable rights,” Tester said.  “One of those rights is due process, and I’m going to do everything in my power to prevent the government from taking that right away.  We can defend our country without trampling the Constitution.”

Tester is a staunch advocate for Montanans’ civil rights and privacy.  In addition to his fierce criticism of the controversial Patriot Act, he has called out numerous attempts at government overreach.  Last year, he demanded that the FBI to abandon plans to give its 14,000 agents significant new powers to investigate the private lives of law-abiding Americans.

Tester also recently forced the President to make three more nominations to the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.  The five-member board was established to examine anti-terrorism and security policies to ensure that they do not violate the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding American citizens.  The board’s creation was a key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission, but it has never been successfully established.

Tester’s bipartisan bill prohibiting indefinite detention of Americans is available online HERE.