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    From stonebry
    Perceiving Reality
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Hamdan v. Rumsfeld

    In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Salim Ahmed Hamden, a Yemeni national being held in custody at a U.S. military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; filed for the right of habeas corpus based on the charge that the Executive order being used to hold him under the indictment of “conspiracy to commit… offenses triable by a military commission” is not supported by either a congressional act or the common law of war; and therefore should be deemed unconstitutional. Justice John Paul Stevens announced the opinion of a 5-3 majority, which stated:
    The military commission convened to try Hamden lacks the power to proceed because its structure and procedures violate both the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the Geneva Conventions. Four of us also conclude… that the offense with which Hamdan has been charged is not an “offense that by… the law of war may be tried by military commissions.
    (10 U.S.C. §821)
    The finding greatly restricted executive freedom regarding the detainment of “enemy combatants” and reflected a radical shift in executive power as it had stood since the declaration of the war on terror, and the beginning of the Iraqi invasion and conflict.
    Hamdan v. Rumsfeld served to guarantee that detainees would have the right to a trial according to the standards set by the common law of war or through legislation enacted in Congress. Possibly more significant than that however, is that this ruling served to set an important precedent that restricted Presidential infringement on personal rights and subordinated the executive branch to that of the legislative in a critical aspect of U.S. military policy. Outside moderation like of this type stands in stark contrast to the relatively unrestricted powers given to the executive in the 2001 USA Patriot Act and could serve as indication of a positive shift away from the Judiciary’s historical deference to the executive in matters of foreign policy. Up until Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, many prisoners deemed “enemy combatants” by order of the President and who were now living under the complete authority of the United States government were denied the right to habeas for up to four years. Furthermore, by adding restrictions the Supreme Court has limited the effects of unilateral decision-making on the part of the executive and created an opportunity for additional outside review. Greater review on the part of an impartial and independent tribunal allows the legislative branch to take a central role in the decision making process by deeming them sole domestic authority over the standers and practices to be used by these tribunals, while also including a beneficial check with the additional advantage of an increase in collective decision making. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld paints an important picture of how U.S. military policy in the new and dangerous era after September 11th should look, and may possibility serve to be one of the first legal precedents used to ensure that during the fight on terror that principles like democratic skepticism, individual rights, and multilateral cooperation continue to serve as the foundation of the American moral character and do not take a back seat in the face of mounting military crisis.
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