Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
A mere six years ago, if the average American lawyer were to hear of a judicial system in which defendants could be held indefinitely without recourse to habeas corpus to challenge the basis of their captivity; subject to interrogations involving painful, humiliating and otherwise coercive techniques; and tried on the basis of testimony they could not hear, much less challenge, the lawyer would no doubt conjure up an image of the Stalin show trials, the kangaroo courts of a despot or other Kafkaesque perversions of justice. He or she would never imagine such an unfair system arising here. Well, it just did. On Oct. 17, President Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which addresses trials “for violations of the law of war.” Among its most controversial provisions is one that states: “No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination.” Another provision authorizes the president to interpret “the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions,” which could allow him great latitude regarding coercive interrogations. Others allow for the use of hearsay evidence, evidence seized without a warrant and statements of the accused resulting from “alleged coercion.” We do not do justice when we suspend basic principles of fairness, especially the writ of habeas corpus, enshrined in our Constitution. We don’t have to subvert longstanding American principles and values in order to prosecute terrorists effectively. While the act’s proponents claim that terrorists deserve no better, our judicial system is premised on equal justice for all accused, no matter how odious their alleged crimes. We can only hope that the 110th Congress has the sense to repeal this deeply flawed act, or that the Supreme Court strikes down its most egregious provisions.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.