Senators Paul & McCain Battle Over NDAA 'Indefinite Detention' Language

Senator Dianne Feinstein's amendment to the 2013 version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was introduced by Republican Senator Mike Lee, passed on the Senate floor in November, and sadly, supported by Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). As a result the amendment actually does nothing to protect anyone from being indefinitely detained without charge or trial. Now the language from the amendment, which has been said to provide Constitutional protections, but doesn't actually do that, is causing more friction between Paul and Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

While Senators Paul and McCain have had their disagreements before over the indefinite detention section of the 2012 NDAA, Paul took on Senator McCain after the House failed to pass similar language in its bill. The two are now involved in an attempt to resolve the language and Paul has come out swinging.

"The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional," Sen. Paul said in a statement.

"I voted against NDAA in 2011 because it did not contain the proper constitutional protections. When my Senate colleagues voted to include those protections in the 2012 NDAA through the Feinstein-Lee Amendment last month, I supported this act," Sen. Paul continued. "But removing those protections now takes us back to square one and does as much violence to the Constitution as last year's NDAA. When the government can arrest suspects without a warrant, hold them without trial, deny them access to counsel or admission of bail, we have shorn the Bill of Rights of its sanctity."

"Saying that new language somehow ensures the right to habeas corpus - the right to be presented before a judge - is both questionable and not enough'" the Senator said. "Citizens must not only be formally charged but also receive jury trials and the other protections our Constitution guarantees. Habeas corpus is simply the beginning of due process. It is by no means the whole."

"Our Bill of Rights is not something that can be cherry-picked at legislators' convenience," Paul declared. "When I entered the United States Senate, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. It is for this reason that I will strongly oppose passage of the McCain conference report that strips the guarantee to a trial by jury."

While I applaud Senator Paul for his desire to be Constitutional, I have to point out that the support he gives to the Feinstein amendment is not Constitutional either.

McCain criticized Paul earlier this month for attempting to filibuster the bill, saying that it was, in essence, aiding Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's case for filibuster reform.

“I find it disappointing that one member of the United States Senate feels that his particular agenda is so important that it affects the lives and the readiness and the capabilities of the men and women who are serving in the military and our ability to defend this nation,” McCain told Roll Call. “I think it’s hard to answer to the men and women in the military … with this kind of behavior, but I will leave that up to the senator from Kentucky to do so.”

As I pointed out here, there is a huge problem with the amendment. the specific language of the amendment states:

“An authorization to use military force, a declaration of war, or any similar authority shall not authorize the detention without charge or trial of a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States apprehended in the United States, unless an Act of Congress expressly authorizes such detention.”

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) said, "Well, that Act of Congress is the 2012 NDAA, which renders the rest of the Feinstein amendment meaningless."

Amash also said, "The Feinstein amendment to the 2013 NDAA does NOT protect you from indefinite detention without charge or trial. In fact, it explicitly permits such detention so long as the detention is approved by an Act of Congress . . . such as the 2012 NDAA."

Here are several issues. First it does not cover everyone in the United States. Second, this does not address passage of 2012 NDAA. Third, since when does Congress have the authority to authorize the detention of anyone in the U.S. without charge or trial, let alone a citizen or permanent resident? I don't recall the Constitution granting them that power.

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  • gypsy314

    John McCain a traitor to Americans he is in bed with democrats to destroy Americans and now a American can be pick up and know will every know what happen to him or her. Fellow Americans open your eyes before we are all in jail or no telling because we do not agree with you or views about democrats and Obama. Mark it up for democrats and rinos like John for removing your freedoms that so many have dies for. Have you had enough if so we must unite for the battle of our life and I do mean our life's.

  • Winghunter

    McCain's Straight Lies By Thomas Sowell

    McCain Boasts That He Voted Against The Bush Tax Cuts

    McCain Would Vote Against Tax Cuts Again

    The Real McCain Record by Mark Levin Obstacles in the way of conservative

    McCain's Lazarus Routine by Chuck Muth
    "The “special interests” which “conservative lobbyists” who oppose McCain advocate for include those who value free speech, which was muzzled by the abominable McCain-Feingold law, those who value gun rights and the constitutional right of self-defense, those who don’t think terrorists planning to kill millions of Americans should enjoy American constitutional rights, those who don’t buy into the hooey of Al Gore’s global warming hysteria, those who supported the Bush tax cuts which McCain voted against, those who don’t think it’s the federal government’s role to regulate professional boxing, and those who object to extending amnesty to illegal aliens."

  • Don

    It has been rumored that John McCain received preferential treatment in the POW camp in N. Vietnam after the North was made aware that his father was an Admiral in the American Navy. True? I don't know.

  • Don

    Senator McCain, among others, are traitors!

  • CharlieSeattle

    “The decision by the NDAA conference committee, led by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to strip the National Defense Authorization Act of the amendment that protects American citizens against indefinite detention now renders the entire NDAA unconstitutional,” Sen. Paul said it all.

    If Obama signs this abortion, he is a traitor!

  • maribee

    I hope everyone understands that the NDAA is the least of it. Obama has written an
    Executive Order implementing NDAA insofar as Americans' Constitutional protections
    are concerned, and has set himself up in the EO as Judge, Jury and Executioner. It he
    ever decides to activiate that Order, noone can fight it as "unconstitutional" and it says so
    right in the Order. What I want to know is where is his constitutional authority to write these
    orders?? Or any Executive Order. I can't find it in the US Constitution. Oh yes, and be
    aware that our Congress has sat mute and allowed these orders to become "law"--says
    so in the EO.

  • Wolf-Talker-1

    Guilty until Proven Innocent, always the best policy! Suspect Everyone, Trust No One, they're all out to get ya!

  • Nancy

    Now I know I did the right thing in not voting for Mc Cain . He just seems to want to fight anyone and he don't care who it is.
    Stop your madness and go back to Arz. Mc Clain.
    Quite while some still have respect for you.

  • Russ Henry

    This article is misleading and double speak!
    Mr, Brown straighten it out or get off the site for good! Anyone that trusts McCain is a fool!

  • CrustyOldGeezer

    McKainnedy was a Prisoner of War in Vietnam and suffered severe, debilitating injuries during his internment.

    Now he finds that sort of thing perfectly permissible IN THIS COUNTRY?

    hey johnnie, wanna free, all expenses paid vacation at the Hanoi Hilton, just for old times sake?

    Maybe help you remember how much fun it was back in the good old days?

  • awkingsley

    Your article is very confusing and casts Senator Paul in a bad light when he did what was right by supporting the Feinstein-Lee Amendment, in order to protect our rights. Now McCain is trying to strip NDAA of the amendment protecting our Rights. You need to give Rand Paul kudos.This article is very strange - hard to see what it is you are trying to do. Here is an accurate portrayal of Rand Paul's votes on NDAA and it is a fair representation of the whole situation. The URL below is for an article in the Daily Crux, the toughest supporters of freedom around.
    I'm beginning to wonder if this newsletter is actually sponsored by Establishment Republicans operating under a false flag.

  • Michael

    McCain is nothing, more nor less, than a power hungry politician. He cares nothing about the ordinary citizens of this once great nation. Time for him to go to the old soldiers' home and get out of that cesspool, called Washington D.C. Of course, that sentiment goes for about 98% of all the elected officials in the National Capitol Region.

  • 57girl

    I hope Rand Paul runs for POTUS in 2016. Maybe by then, the people will be bright enough to put a REAL Patriot in the White House. For that matter, I hope America can survive four more years. Sometimes, I wonder.

    • GregoryP

      The electorate put a failure back in the White House.

    • GSoros

      I wouldn't go that far. Unions, the communist appeasing media, electronic voting machines, and mail in ballots, Communist powerhouses like Soros and the people that pull his strings, put a failure back in the White House.

      BTW, the golden child is no failure. He's done more for his handlers than any other so called 'president' since the Fed was created.
      We're a hair away from being a communist/islamic world. America has been the only stumbling block up until now. They've chiseled away at us and now, as they would say, "We gotcha where we want ya".

    • GeorgeS

      Don't bet on us making it to '16. The puppeteers of this whole charade know they must complete their decade old mission in this term. It ain't gonna be pretty, no matter if we all lay down to communism (and the slaughter house) or whether we fight back. Wanna be a coward, or a patriot? That is the only choices we have.

  • Gil Jones

    McCain's indefinite detention in North Vietnam has addled his mind. To use our military and its personnel to disparage Paul for trying to keep in place the laws that that same military is out there to protect is kook-koo. That fool can't hear what he's saying, echoes don't bounce off rubber to well...Semper Fi

  • jerry1944

    yea but we know mccain isnt a conservative and is the range of the romney mods.

    • SUSANM


  • Piltdown911

    One would think McCain having been a POW would have some
    sensitivities regarding imprisonment of this type.

    • Tim Brown

      I agree

    • James Pundsack

      What else does this RINO have up his sleeve!

    • DrSique

      I was one of McCains' biggest admirers when he was an American hero. I am, now, one of his biggest critics since he became a fat headed zero.