An amendment – proposed by Arlen Specter (R-PA) and largely supported by Democrats – to insert habeas corpus protections into the detainment/torture bill failed to pass by a narrow margin today.

The Senate just killed an amendment to ensure federal courts could review the legitimacy of individual’ imprisonment on suspicion of involvement in terrorism. The amendment had been proposed by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “It is a fundamental protection woven into the fabric of our Nation,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who supported the measure. It was defeated 48-51, largely along party lines.

Former torture victim Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), portrayed as a “maverick” by earlier bucking the White House on the issue of detainee treatment, voted against the amendment. The White House also opposes the changes the amendment would make to the bill. Sens. John Warner (R-VA) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who had also challenged the White House over the bill, joined McCain in voting against the amendment.

Had Warner, Graham, and McCain voted for the amendment, it would have passed. So much for bucking the President and protecting the rights of Americans.

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