Trying terrorists

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on December 5, 2001

Just got done listening to today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on military tribunals. Lots of good stuff there, but all parties involved were really taking shots at a shadowy figure in the dark because the rules for the tribunals they were debating haven't been made yet. Lots of speculation from all parties involved. But the good (and sane) news appears to be that few of the "experts" called in to testify on the subject (the exception being the libertarian Cato Institute's Timothy Lynch) are way out on the nutso fringe. The general consensus was that the president does have the power to have military tribunals; the tribunals are less complicated and easier to execute (no pun intended) than a civilian trial; and they're probably a good idea, all things considered.

Harvard Law Professor Lawrence Tribe, a favorite of the liberal Democrats, had little to criticize at the hearing. His only concerns were that he would prefer that Congress vote and give its consent for military tribunals on the odd chance that some wacko judge on the 9th Circuit (yep, he singled out California's own nut-cases) would order a terrorist convicted by the tribunals freed because of a technicality. Tribe said he believes, with the current make-up of the U.S. Supreme Court, that the court would OK the tribunals without the explicit consent of Congress, based on historical precedence and the Constitution. But Tribe would prefer that Congress specifically give its imprimatur on Bush's executive order to ensure that liberal judicial activists don't get the opportunity to pose a clear and present danger to the American people.

Of course, based on the 9th Circuit's track record (over the past couple of decades, if I recall correctly the 9th Circuit has been overturned by the Supreme Court more often than any other circuit) I don't think that a clear OK from Congress would dissuade them from doing something rash.


[custom-twitter-feeds headertext="Hoystory On Twitter"]


December 2001



pencil linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram