Bush decided only he should decide who should go before military trial for terrorism
November 19, 2001 3:56 AM   Subscribe

Bush decided only he should decide who should go before military trial for terrorism Why not>? He is our elected president and our leader, no?
posted by Postroad (15 comments total)
Dude... it's still uncool to mock the president. (But I appreciate your sense of irony.)
posted by crunchland at 5:00 AM on November 19, 2001

He is our elected president and our leader, no?

Well, you got half of that right.
posted by DragonBoy at 5:19 AM on November 19, 2001

He's the President. That's about it.
posted by skylar at 5:25 AM on November 19, 2001

I'd rather not, if at all possible.

"I am emperor Ronald Reagan,
born again with fascist cravings,
still, you made me President..." - Jello Biafra

"If this were a dictatorship, it would be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator." - George W. Bush
posted by tpoh.org at 5:51 AM on November 19, 2001

He is not the head of the judiciary.

It smells bad.
posted by NortonDC at 6:10 AM on November 19, 2001

If these tribunals are held in secret, how can they ever yield an appeal which would lead to the supreme court and a ruling on the constitutionality of this executive order? Can the judiciary rule on this without a test case? and most important (and scary) do we now have a supreme court that would overturn this sneaky bit of facism...?
posted by dorcas at 6:53 AM on November 19, 2001

Just how far can a president exceed the bounds of his office before he may be considered impeachable? The creation of an extrajudicial body within the Executive Branch by executive order seems somewhat more grave than President Johnson's violation of the Tenure of Office Act by dismissing Stanton as Secretary of War, an act for which he was impeached (yet not removed).

Granted, both the impeachments in American history have been solely motivated by politics, not justice, and though Bush's pity ticket abroad has pretty much run out, he still has the support of his party and the Congress here at home, so it's not at all realistic to think he will be removed, not unless he really screws up.

I'd just like all the Bob Barr dittoheads out there who called for blood when Bill Clinton committed the mortal sin of lying about a blowjob from an intern to sit back for a moment and think whether telling a lie (under oath, yes) to save your own, personal, ass is as bad as affecting a wholesale suspension of Article III, Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States.
posted by Vetinari at 7:02 AM on November 19, 2001

Here's Senator Leahy's statement, which reads in part: "We need to understand the international implications of the President's order, which sends a message to the world that it is acceptable to hold secret trials and summary executions, without the possibility of judicial review, at least when the defendant is a foreign national. Could this put U.S. citizens abroad, including military personnel and peacekeepers, at grave risk?"
posted by ferris at 7:03 AM on November 19, 2001

Any interested party can file a motion in Federal district court to enjoin the Secretary of Defense from enforcing the executive order. The question is "who is an interested party"? Mullah Omar could just go on Al-Jazeera and declare that he is appointing the ACLU his counsel for the purposes of filing such a motion, since it is clear that this order would apply to him and other senior Taliban commanders. If he's too proud to do that, well, then I guess it's the military tribunal for him.
posted by MattD at 7:22 AM on November 19, 2001

The Public Citizen Litigation Group, a group of historians and archivists, is planning to sue. Harley Sorenson thinks it will come down to Antonin Scalia, and suggests he may, as a strict constructionist, rise to the occasion.
posted by ferris at 7:37 AM on November 19, 2001

That would be nice ferris. The problem with such wishful thinking is that Scalia is a strict constructionalist only when it meets his partisan agenda. If it doesn't, anything goes. He is on the record as being against many liberties individuals now have that he would restrict (say, abortions for example.) Following his historical pattern of behavior, I can't see Scalia voting against such facism.
posted by nofundy at 7:46 AM on November 19, 2001

Ferris, it appears that the story you cite is Public Citizen seeking an injunction against the public records confidentiality orders that Bush has put in place, and has nothing to do with Bush's military-tribunals orders.
posted by MattD at 9:05 AM on November 19, 2001

It does smell bad. But that doesn't mean it is, or will be. It's within his power as the president, as I understand it. And although I've gone back and forth on this issue, because it's such a tricky one and could have profound implications, I've decided to come down on the side of being in favor of leaving this open to him as an option. Of course, it means I have to put even more trust in Bush and his team, and I don't like to trust anybody. But that's life.
posted by verdezza at 10:47 AM on November 19, 2001

MattD, you're right. That link belongs here. But the ACLU has issued a strong statement. Maybe they'll take it on.
posted by ferris at 11:02 AM on November 19, 2001

The President is the Commander in Chief of our armed forces. Military courts are part of the military and are under his jurisdiction. More to the point, they are definitely not under the jurisdiction of our Judicial branch.
posted by kindall at 12:46 PM on November 19, 2001

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