Military Tribunals

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Novinka Books, 2003 - Political Science - 68 pages
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Though few question the importance of America's war on terror, President George W Bush's decision to try suspected terrorists before a military tribunal raises worries and questions about the protection of civil liberties and the rights of defendants in a trial. Vocal critics demanded that administration rescind the order because the tribunals would not incorporate the fair trial provisions enshrined in the American Constitution. Standards of evidence would be lowered and military panels were less likely to give a fair hearing to those detained as terrorists, the critics said. In response, government officials said that Constitutional rights do not apply to non-citizens and that the process would be devised so that trials would be fair and impartial. Besides, the administration also cited the historical precedents for military tribunals and the Supreme Court decision upholding their constitutionality. President Franklin D Roosevelt authorised a military tribunal to try German saboteurs during World War II and was supported by a unanimous Supreme Court. The facts and issues surrounding Roosevelt's tribunal and the Supreme Court decision are presented in this book along with a second military trial under the Roosevelt administration. The rancorous debate about the make-up and application of military tribunals demands informed opinions and analyses. In order to fully understand the basis and precedent for the Bush administration's controversial decision, one needs to examine the history behind this issue.

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Preface ow
The Military Trial
Windup of the Military Trial

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About the author (2003)

Louis Fisher is Senior Specialist in Separation of Powers with the Congressional Research Service of the Library of Congress. His books include Nazi Saboteurs on Trial: A Military Tribunal and American Law (see page 36), Constitutional Conflicts Between Congress and the President, and Religious Liberty in America (see page 35).

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