The House is preparing to vote again on an unresolved legal controversy: whether the military may imprison terrorism suspects captured on United States soil without trial. The renewed debate comes as a federal judge has enjoined the government from enforcing a statute codifying the government’s powers of indefinite detention.
Lawmakers are considering amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act. One of them, sponsored by Representative Adam Smith of Washington, a Democrat, and Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a Republican, would scale back a highly contested provision about indefinite detention created in last year’s version of the law, by saying it does not apply to domestic arrests.
The provision created last year expressed Congressional approval for the idea that the executive branch was implicitly given the power to detain, without trial, suspected members of Al Qaeda, its allies and their supporters when Congress in 2001 authorized the use of military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks.