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Dr. Claude O. Pressnell, Jr.
President, Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association

Wyndy Corbin Reuschling
Associate Professor of Ethics and Theology,
Ashland Theological Seminary

Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr.
President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Fleming Rutledge
Priest, Episcopal Diocese of New York

Will Samson
Director, The Faith and Society Project

Mark Sargent
Provost, Gordon College

Kevin Saxton
Associate Pastor,
Brewster Baptist Church,
Brewster, MA

Rev. Dr. Douglas Scalise
Senior pastor,
Brewster Baptist Church, Brewster, MA

Rev. Ken Sehested
Circle of Mercy Congregation

Ron Sider
Professor of Theology and Culture and Director of the Sider Center on Ministry
and Public Policy, Palmer Theological Seminary, Founder, Evangelicals for Social
Action

Glen Stassen
Lewis B. Smedes Professor of Christian Ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary

Clyde D. Taylor
U.S. Ambassador, retired

Knox Thames,
Columbia Baptist Church,
Falls Church, VA

Reverend Thomas E. Trask
General Superintendent,
General Council of the Assemblies of God

Miroslav Volf
Henry B. Wright Professor of Theology
Director, Yale Center for Faith and Culture
Yale Divinity School

Berten A. Waggoner
National Director,
Vineyard Churches USA

Richard E. Waldrop
Associate Prof. of World Mission and Evangelism,
Church of God Theological Seminary

Jim Wallis
President, Sojourners/Call to Renewal

Michael L. Westmoreland-White, Ph. D.
Theological Consultant, Every Church a Peace Church

Nicholas Wolterstorff
Noah Porter Professor of Philosophical Theology, Yale University

113

April 30, 2007

The Honorable Members of the United States Senate
The Honorable Members of the United States House

of Representatives Washington, DC 20510

Re:

Pending Efforts to Restore Habeas Corpus Jurisdiction Relating to
Guantánamo Prisoners

Dear Honorable Members of the United States Senate and Honorable Members of the United States House of Representatives:

We are former United States Attorneys and former senior officials in the United States Department of Justice who ask that you support pending efforts to ensure that the United States District Court in Washington, D.C. has jurisdiction over habeas corpus claims brought by Guantánamo Bay prisoners. As you may know, in Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004) and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S. Ct. 2749 (2006), the United States Supreme Court ruled that the district courts have jurisdiction to hear those claims. However, in the Detainee Treatment Act (2005) and the Military Commissions Act (2006), Congress enacted measures that purported to strip the district court of jurisdiction over the petitions of the prisoners. The Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia recently voted 2-1 that the congressional enactments deprive the district court of jurisdiction to hear the petitions, and the United States Supreme Court denied certiorari, with three justices dissenting and two others stating that this was not the time to grant review.

We urge you to support ongoing legislative efforts to restore the traditional power of all courts in our federal judiciary to hear and decide habeas corpus petitions.

Some of us are Republicans and some of us are Democrats. What we have in common is that each of us is proud to have served this country as a federal prosecutor. As United States Attorneys and senior DOJ officials, it was our duty to prosecute - on behalf of all citizens offenses against the United States, and we swore an oath to faithfully execute that duty.

The Honorable Members of the United States Senate
The Honorable Members of the United States House of Representatives
April 30, 2007
Page 2

It was fundamentally important to us that the justice system be both effective and fair. We took pride in being an integral part of a system that provided every defendant with fundamental rights, including the right to habeas corpus, the right against self-incrimination, the right to an attorney, and the right to a fair trial. While serving the United States, we were committed to due process and the rule of law, the pillars of our nation's proud legal tradition. We continue to believe strongly in these principles.

Currently, only ten of the approximately 385 men held at Guantánamo have been charged with war crimes before military commissions, and plans have been announced to charge 14 more men who were transferred in 2006 to Guantánamo from CIA prisons. That leaves approximately 360 men who may never be brought before a military commission. For these men, habeas corpus is the only meaningful method to challenge the legality of their detention. They filed petitions for habeas corpus years ago, but none has yet been heard.

The right of habeas corpus was enshrined in the Constitution by our Founding Fathers so that anyone the Executive detains may challenge the lawfulness of his detention. It is a vital part of our system of checks and balances, and an important safeguard against mistakes which may be made even by well-intentioned government officials. The rights the American justice system provides to those imprisoned promote the credibility and validity of the system itself. If the men at Guantánamo are not provided these rights, a cloud will always remain over the validity of their detention.

We urge you to uphold the fundamental rights that countless Americans have fought and died for by ensuring that the men at Guantánamo have the right to challenge their detentions in a court of law. Thank you very much for your consideration of the views expressed in this letter.

Sincerely,

The Honorable Members of the United States Senate
The Honorable Members of the United States House of Representatives
April 30, 2007
Page 3

Robert L. Barr, Jr.

United States Attorney for the
Northern District of Georgia
(1986-1990)

Alan D. Bersin

United States Attorney for the
Southern District of California
(1993-1998)

Rebecca Betts

United States Attorney for the
Southern District of West Virginia
(1994-2001)

Michael R. Bromwich

Inspector General of the United States
(1994-1999)

Robert C. Bundy

United States Attorney for the
District of Alaska
(1994-2001)

James B. Bums

United States Attorney for the
Northern District of Dlinois
(1993-1997)

A. Bates Butler III

United States Attorney for the
District of Arizona
(1980-1981)

David J. Cannon

United States Attorney for the
Eastern District of Wisconsin

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