John McCain/Rights, Liberties and Courts Policy

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Wiki the vote tall.gif This article is part of the Wiki-The-Vote project to detail the positions and records of Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. This article covers McCain and Rights, Liberties and Courts Policy. See the main page on John McCain for other positions and more info.
Summary (how summaries work)
In 2005, Senator John McCain introduced an amendment limiting the practice of torture by any military or intelligence agency personnel. The torture ban was approved by Congress my a wide majority, but President George W. Bush in a signing statement said he reserved the right to conduct torture to protect national security.

Sen. McCain voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2008 and voted for the RESTORE Act (2007 FISA bill).

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union gave Senator McCain a grade of 50, and he supported the interests of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights 15 percent that year. Also in 2007, Gun Owners of America gave Senator McCain a rating of F-, though in 2006 he supported their interests 100 percent.



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Congressional torture ban

Senator McCain, as a former POW, is particularly sensitive to the issue of detention and interrogation of detainees from the War on Terror. On October 3, 2005, Senator McCain introduced the McCain Detainee Amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill for 2005. On October 5, 2005, the United States Senate voted 90-9 to support the amendment. [1]

This amendment would establish the US Army Field Manual on Interrogation as the standard for interrogation of all detainees held in Department of Defense custody, including those held by the Central Intelligence Agency. The amendment would prohibit cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment and follow sections of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Amendment was initially opposed by the Bush administration, particularly Vice-President Dick Cheney. Before the vote supporting the amendment, the White House threatened to veto any language limiting the use of torture on suspected terrorists. However, due to the size of the majority voting in favor, this was not an option. The White House then sought alternative language which would exempt CIA operatives from the torture ban. The Senate refused the compromise.

On December 15, President Bush announced that he accepted McCain's terms and will "make it clear to the world that this government does not torture and that we adhere to the international convention of torture, whether it be here at home or abroad."[2] Nevertheless, President Bush can interpret the law "in a manner consistent with his own constitutional authority." In his signing statement, or interpretation of the law, President Bush reserves what he interprets to be his constitutional right to torture in order to avoid further terrorist attacks. [3]

In September 2006, McCain drew attention when he joined with fellow Republicans John Warner (R-Va.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to oppose legislation backed by the Bush Administration that would have given the government wide freedoms in the treatment, interrogation and prosecution of terror detainees. In addition, the legislation would have included a reinterpretation of the U.S. duties under the Geneva convention. The three senators proposed their own, more moderate legislation dealing with the same issue. [4]

On September 21, the three dissenting senators reached a compromise with the White House which included many of the provisions from the administration's initial bill, but eliminated the use of secret evidence unavailable to the defense during terror trials and any explicit reinterpretation of the Geneva Convention. [5]

Main article: War on Terror detainee legislation

Legal Issues

Sen. McCain voted against the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2008 and voted for the RESTORE Act (2007 FISA bill).

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Civil Liberties and Civil Rights

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union gave Senator McCain a grade of 50, and he supported the interests of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights 15 percent in 2007.

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Gun issues

In 2007, Gun Owners of America gave Senator McCain a rating of F-, though in 2006 supported the interests of the Gun Owners of America 100 percent.

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Drug issues

Senator McCain supported the interests of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors 0 percent in 2005-2006.

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Death penalty

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Crime issues

Senator McCain supported the interests of the Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants 29 percent in 2005-2006, and the interests of the National Criminal Justice Association 85 percent in 2005.

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Other

Articles and resources

See also

References

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