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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The Military Trial
Windup of the Military Trial
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Article 46 Biddle and Cramer board of review Bymes Charge Chief Justice Stone civil courts Colepaugh Commander in Chief committed concurrence conﬂict curiam D.C. Circuit Dasch decide decision defendants Dowell and Royall eight Germans espionage Ex parte Milligan Ex parte Quirin executive ﬁle ﬁnding ﬁrst Francis Biddle Frankfurter full opinion German saboteurs Gimpcl govemment habeas corpus Harlan Fiske Stone Haupt identiﬁed issue Jackson July July 29 June jurisdiction of military Kerling Manual for Courts-Martial Manuscript Room martial law McCoy Papers memo military commission military order military trial military tribunal Nazi Saboteurs October 29 offenses ofﬁce ofﬁcer oral argument penalty peremptory challenges petition petitioners President Roosevelt President’s proclamation procedure proceeding proclamation and order prosecution prosecutors question Roosevelt’s proclamation rules sabotage sentence speciﬁcation spying statute Stimson Stimson Diary Supreme Court theatre of operations trial by military trial record U.S. citizen United violation Washington Wiener writ of habeas