Habeas corpus amendment defeated

A few hours ago, the Senate defeated an amendment which would have allowed suspected terrorists to challenge their detentions in federal court (habeas corpus protection). The amendment, sponsored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), lost by a 48-51 vote. During the debate, Specter argued that habeas corpus "is a constitutional requirement and it is fundamental that Congress not legislate contradiction to a constitutional interpretation of the Supreme Court."

While the vote was largely along party lines, Specter was joined by GOP Sens. Lincoln Chafee (R-R.I), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), and John E. Sununu (R-N.H.) in supporting the amendment. Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) was the only Democrat to oppose it.

The bill now looks to be on a clear path to passage. Be sure to check-in here for updates as events unfold, and on Congresspedia's great page on detainee legislation.