Writ's Columnists Discuss the Use of Military Tribunals to Try Suspected Terrorist
FindLaw guest columnist and U.C. Davis law professor Anupam Chander takes issue with the Bush Administration's position in Coalition of Clergy v. Bush, a California case in which a group of clergypersons and attorneys is challenging the Administration's treatment of Guantanamo detainees. Chander contests the Administration's position -- which holds that because Guantanamo is not technically under U.S. sovereignty, the Constitution does not apply to the detainees -- on both legal and policy grounds.
Thursday, Mar. 07, 2002
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean discusses the historical use of military tribunals. Drawing his examples from the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and, especially, FDR's Presidency, Dean contends that these historical precedents should give us less concern about the use of tribunals to try suspected terrorists than many critics have suggested.
Friday, Dec. 07, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former Counsel to the President John Dean responds to critics who have claimed President Bush's recent executive order allowing foreign terrorists to be tried before military tribunals, not civil juries, is a serious infringement of civil liberties. Surveying legal and historical precedents, Dean contends that President Bush's measure is appropriate given that we are at war, and that the accusation that the tribunals will be kangaroo courts is both inaccurate and unfair.
Friday, Nov. 23, 2001
FindLaw columnist and former counsel to the President John Dean contends that this may be the time to use military tribunals, not civil juries, to try suspected terrorists. Drawing in part on the work of commentators Spencer J. Crona and Neal A. Richardson, Dean analyzes the relevant Supreme Court precedents, notes Chief Justice Rehnquist's view on the matter, and explains the advantages of military tribunals in cases like these.
Friday, Sep. 28, 2001
Dorf clarifies the legal status of the al Qaeda and Taliban detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Dorf explains the Geneva Convention test governing whether a detainee is a prisoner of war or an unlawful combatant; considers the consequences of each status for the detainees and the Administration; and discusses the two Supreme Court cases that create the basic legal framework within which the Administration must operate.
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2002
FindLaw columnist and Cardozo law professor Marci Hamilton offers a new perspective on the controversy over the Bush Administration's use of military tribunals. Hamilton argues that it is hypocritical for liberals who, in the past, have favored wide executive discretion with respect to the environment and other policy areas, to now oppose the exercise of executive discretion to create the tribunals when the need for discretion in wartime is particularly great.
Thursday, Dec. 06, 2001
FindLaw columnist, attorney, and author Edward Lazarus discusses the unusual history of Ex Parte Quirin -- the World War II Supreme Court opinion upon which proponents of President Bush's military tribunals order most heavily rely. In Quirin, Lazarus explains, the Supreme Court, under pressure, announced its result -- supporting the President's use of military tribunals to try Nazi saboteurs -- first; gave reasons later; and then regretted this backwards process. For this and other reasons, Lazarus argues, Quirin should not be invoked in defense of President Bush's order.
Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2001
FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner clarifies the issues in the debate that persists over how Guantanamo detainees should be treated. Mariner explains the clash over what article of the Geneva Conventions applies to Taliban prisoners; sets forth the procedures that should be followed when POW status is in doubt; and notes the trend towards seeking to discard the Conventions entirely when terrorism is at issue.
Monday, Mar. 11, 2002
FindLaw columnist and human rights attorney Joanne Mariner examines Attorney General Ashcroft's comparison of a possible trial of Osama bin Laden to the trial of O.J. Simpson, and contends that the fear of a Simpson-like proceeding does not justify abridging due process. Mariner also notes the cost, in terms of international opinion, of affording suspected terrorists military proceedings rather than civil trials.
Monday, Nov. 26, 2001
FindLaw guest columnist and attorney Philip Gagner discusses a current case in which the Bush Administration has made clear that it believes military tribunals can be used to try not only non-citizens (as the recent Executive Order commands), but U.S. citizens as well. Gagner -- who represents the government's opponent in the case -- argues that the Administration's position is wrong. Military tribunals cannot and should not, he contends, be used to try U.S. citizens, and they also should not be instituted without direct Congressional authorization.
Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2001
Johns Hopkins political science professor and constitutional law scholarJoel Grossman discusses President Bush's Executive Order directing thatsuspected terrorists be tried by military tribunals.Grossman examinespossible sources of authority for the Executive Order, and considersthe larger question of whether the Supreme Court should getinvolved in presidential actions during wartime.
Thursday, Nov. 29, 2001