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JAS Welcomes New Focus on Due Process, Oversight and Judicial Review in National Security

May 23, 2013

JAS Welcomes New Focus on Due Process, Oversight and Judicial Review in National Security
Contact: Laurie Kinney, lkinney@justiceatstake.org, (202) 588-9454; cell (571) 882-3615
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23 – Today, President Obama addressed an audience at the National Defense University and delivered a speech on national security and counterterrorism policy. Justice at State was encouraged by the President’s affirmation that the Constitution’s protections define us as a nation and do not disappear during times of war. 
In the words of the President: "For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and served as our compass through every type of change. Matters of war and peace are no different."
JAS also commends the President for his commitment to review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of war zones.  
Praveen Fernandes, JAS Director of Federal Affairs and Diversity Initiatives, explained: "The President acknowledged that the targeting of American citizens raises significant constitutional concerns. Leaders from both parties and all three branches of government need to grapple seriously with what the Constitution demands in terms of due process and other protections." 
JAS also lauds the President’s commitment to closing the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and assuring judicial review for every detainee.  
With respect to the President’s remarks on the closing of Guantanamo, Fernandes stated: "Meaningful judicial review must be available for every detainee. As plans are made for moving detainees away from Guantanamo, a strong preference should be expressed for trying detainees in federal courts rather than military commissions. Our nation’s federal courts have a proven record --- and certainly a much stronger record than military commissions --- in the area of trying terrorism suspects while providing the sorts of protections that are central to our nation. Entrusting our civilian justice system with such tasks honors our nation’s deepest values while keeping our nation safe."  

Justice at Stake is a nonpartisan, nonprofit campaign working to keep America’s courts fair and impartial. Justice at Stake and its 50-plus state and national partners educate the public, and work for reforms to keep politics and special interests out of the courtroom – so judges can protect our Constitution, our rights and the rule of law. For more about Justice at Stake, go to www.justiceatstake.org or www.gavelgrab.org.  

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