Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bush Attempts to Defy Supreme Court Ruling on Military Tribunals

The Bush administration wants congress to rubber stamp its version of military tribunals for non-combatants in defiance of the recent Hamdan v Rumsfeld decision.

Via Mercury News:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration urged Congress on Wednesday to write a law ratifying its use of makeshift military commissions to try detainees in the war on terror, rather than mandate new tribunals with strict legal codes so they would conform to the recent Supreme Court ruling that President Bush's commissions are unconstitutional.
"All Congress needs to do . . . is to ratify that process, and we can move on very, very quickly," Daniel J. Dell'Orto, principal deputy general counsel for the Department of Defense, told the House Armed Services Committee.

He said the court "apparently found no underlying flaw in the commission processes established - it simply said the president did not consult with the Congress in devising the tribunals." Congress could satisfy the court with "minor tinkering" to the Bush policy, he said.

That view is drawing objections from military lawyers, legal experts and leading senators.

Bushco: playing fast and loose with the facts again.

More critics are expected to weigh in Thursday when the Senate Armed Services Committee holds a hearing on how to respond to the high court's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld ruling last month. The 5-3 decision essentially said that Bush's tribunals violated U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions of 1949 because they didn't provide the legal procedural safeguards that civilian or military courts require. The ruling also stated emphatically that Bush didn't have inherent power as commander in chief to treat detainees however he chose, but instead must get authority from Congress.

You can watch today's committee hearing (now completed) and its continuation on Thursday on C-SPAN.

Steve Bradbury of the Justice Department had this to say today in reponse to questions by Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT): 'The President is always right.'

Some think it was just snark. Others aren't so sure.

Update: The New York Times has more. The limits on torture, or lack thereof, are back on the table.

P.S. The House Armed Services Committee's site sucks - badly. I hope they didn't actually pay someone for that design.

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