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Illinois District 5 and the Military Commissions Act

For Green Party candidate Matt Reichel, restoration of the civil liberties lost under George W. Bush is a top campaign issue. From the first day of his campaign for Congress in the 2010 election, Reichel has spoken clearly and forcefully on the need to end the degradation of our constitutional rights. Reichel writes,

“Our Republic is in danger when I need even comment on the issue of civil liberties. As a Congressman, I will take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. This will be my one official job requirement, and I will stand behind it with my life. I will carry out the duty to protect my constituents against encroachment by an over-zealous executive, whilst seeking to overturn the excesses of the Bush administration aka the Patriot Act, Military Commisions Act and FISA.

Meanwhile, we cannot allow the outgoing presidential administration off the hook for their egregious crimes against humanity, including lying to the public in order to build support for war, a general disregard for due process and writ of habeas corpus, the use of secret detention camps, and the use of torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

George W Bush should have been impeached for his high crimes and misdemeanors, and it is quite upsetting that the Democratic leadership in Washington refused to uphold the Constitution on this matter.

However, it is not too late to make the Bush administration pay for their crimes by bringing them before a federal court to seek punishment for their usurpations of power.”

Reichel’s opponent for the Illinois 5th district’s seat in the House of Representatives, Democratic incumbent Mike Quigley, has not performed well on the issue of the Military Commissions Act. Representative Quigley has been presented with the opportunity to support legislation that would undo some of the worst aspects of the military commissions act – but he has decided not to do so.

H.R. 591, the Interrogation and Detention Reform Act, would dismantle the unconstitutional military tribunal system. It would end the use of torture to “enhance” interrogations. It would overturn the Military Commissions Act’s repeal of habeas corpus.

Yet, Congressman Quigley won’t support the bill. It wouldn’t require much work for Quigley to help H.R. 591 to advance. All he has to do to show his support is to sign his name as a cosponsor to the legislation. It takes just a few minutes to do. Yet, Quigley declines even to make this small amount of effort.

It’s odd that Quigley won’t help get this worthwhile legislation out of committee, because during his campaign just a few months ago, candidate Quigley said that he would support legislation to make changes to the Military Commissions Act.

The sad truth is that, since he’s entered Congress, Mike Quigley has done nothing at all to support legislation to reform or overturn the Military Commissions Act. Quigley hasn’t kept his promise. So, when voters in the 5th congressional district of Illinois consider the difference between Matt Reichel and Mike Quigley in 2010, the issue related to the Military Commissions Act isn’t just one of civil liberties. It also has to do with trust.

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