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Another Democrat Opposes Civilian Trials For 9/11 Suspects

February 11, 2010 - by Eric Naing

Sen. Ben Nelson [D, NE] is the latest in a growing chorus line of conservative and moderate Democrats opposing President Obama’s plan to try 9/11 suspects in New York.

As I mentioned before, Sen. Lindsey Graham [R, SC] has sponsored a bill (S.2977) banning government dollars from going toward any civilian trial for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged 9/11 conspirators. A handful of Democrats including Sen. Jim Webb [D, VA], Sen. Blanche Lincoln [D, AR] and now Sen. Nelson are co-sponsoring the bill.

Nelson had previously voted to kill an amendment also sponsored by Graham that would have accomplished the same goal.

Citing the opposition of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other security officials in the state as a reason for this reversal, Nelson now believes a civilian trial would be too costly and risky:

Mayor Bloomberg was right that New York City should not have to bare the burden of this unfunded mandate from the federal government, but neither should American taxpayers. Given the immense costs and associated risks, I believe that trying those charged with the attacks of 9/11 in military commissions is the appropriate course of action.

Public opinion has been turning against trying the 9/11 suspects in civilian court. The New York state Senate on Tuesday passed a resolution disapproving of the trial and a recent Quinnipiac poll shows a majority of Americans preferring military trials by a 59% to 35% margin.

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