Oppose Conference Report on National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540)

Media 12.15.11

Recipient: U.S. Senate

Dear Senator:

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human
Rights, we write to express our opposition to the conference report on H.R.
1540, the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2012. While we appreciate
the efforts of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and other conferees to mitigate the
tremendous constitutional concerns raised by the detention provisions in
Sections 1021 and 1022, the revised language still raises a number of very
troubling questions that remain unaddressed and require further study.

Supporters of the conference report have argued that the new
provisions would merely codify existing law. That is the problem: the “existing
law” is still very much in dispute. The executive branch has asserted an
extraordinary power to subject U.S. citizens to military detention. To date,
the Supreme Court has not yet addressed this claim. Instead of clarifying
existing law, the conference report would only add to ongoing confusion. It is
worth pointing out that in a hearing yesterday before the Senate Judiciary
Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller joined in those who have voiced continued
concerns about the revised language.

When faced with language that could potentially undermine our
most fundamental civil rights and liberties, Congress cannot afford to rush. We
urge you to oppose the conference report at this time,
and we urge you to further examine the full ramifications of Sections 1021 and
1022 before considering their enactment.

Thank you for your consideration.






Wade Henderson
President & CEO

Nancy Zirkin
Executive Vice President