Today, the Supreme Court considered deeply troubling implications of the Military Commissions Act of 2007, a law I vigorously opposed when it was debated on the Senate floor. It was as clear then as it is today that this legislation is bad law and bad policy. It does little to advance our security interests abroad, and it undermines our values at home. The specific question before the Court is whether detainees being held in Guantanamo Bay can be denied the right of habeas corpus — the right to challenge the legality of their detention, to ask why they are being held. The Court should restore this basic right. Our Nation must not indefinitely detain anyone without safeguards to ensure we are holding the right person. This is one of the bedrock principles enshrined in our Constitution; it is the way our Founders believed we could be secure against those who would abuse government power.
I believe we do not have to abandon our constitutional principles or our values as Americans in the name of fighting terrorism. We can defeat terrorists around the world and preserve who we are as Americans. When we sacrifice one for the sake of the other, we hand our enemies a victory. Unfortunately, under President Bush, Guantanamo Bay has come to represent a flagging commitment to justice and contempt for the rule of law. This is not only a threat to our values — it also harms our national security interests and our moral authority in the eyes of the world.