Supreme Court Bars Miltary Tribunals
Update: The New York Times calls the decision "the most significant rebuff to date to President Bush. In a nutshell,
Justice Stevens declared flatly that "the military commission at issue lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedure violate" both the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which governs the American military's legal system, and the Third Geneva Convention.The majority opinion rejected the administration's claims that the tribunals were justified both by President Bush's inherent powers as commander in chief and by the resolution passed by Congress authorizing the use of force after the Sept. 11. There is nothing in the resolution's legislative history "even hinting" that such an expansion of the president's powers was considered, he wrote.
The ruling, a strong rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.
The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court's liberal members in most of the ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the lead the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan. Thursday's ruling overturned that decision.
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