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Category Archives: Military Justice

Article III and the al Bahlul Remand: The New, New NIMJ Amicus Brief

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Monday, August 18, 2014 at 12:59 PM

On July 14, the en banc D.C. Circuit ruled in al Bahlul v. United States that “plain error” review applied to Bahlul’s ex post facto challenge to his military commission convictions for conspiracy, material support, and solicitation–and then upheld the first of those charges under such deferential review (while throwing out the latter two). One of the potentially unintended consequences of the Court . . .
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A Primer on Legal Developments Regarding Private Military Contractors

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Friday, July 18, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Recent events again have raised the issue of accountability for alleged human rights violations by Blackwater, the most notorious of the private contractors deployed by the United States in the Iraq war. On June 11, trial finally got underway of four Blackwater guards accused of shooting indiscriminately into traffic in Nisour Square in Baghdad, in . . .
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Toward a Coherent Theory of the “Military Exception” to Article III

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014 at 3:45 PM

My very first Lawfare post, back in December 2011, focused on the messy constitutional question raised by United States v. Ali—a case then pending before the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces that raised the constitutionality of subjecting civilian military contractors to military, rather than civilian, trials. Although they raise different questions, I was . . .
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Military Commissions, Conspiracy, and al-Iraqi

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014 at 7:20 AM

Over the weekend, I blogged over at Just Security about the al-Iraqi case pending before the military commissions at Guantánamo—and, in particular, Saturday’s New York Times story reporting that the government has amended the charge sheet against al-Iraqi to add a charge of conspiracy. As readers likely know, the en banc D.C. Circuit will soon . . .
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Overview of Restrictions on Counsel in the Tsarnaev and 9/11 Cases

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Monday, December 2, 2013 at 3:00 PM

From the defense’s standpoint, which are more onerous: restrictions on lawyers in civilian terrorism cases or restrictions used in military commissions? Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is currently challenging Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) imposed on him and his attorneys; Judge George O’Toole of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts heard argument on . . .
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Cully Stimson on “Sexual Assault in The Military: Understanding the Problem and How to Fix It”

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Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at 7:03 PM

Charles “Cully” Stimson of the Heritage Foundation writes in with these thoughts on a report Heritage has released on sexual assault in the military: In the spirit of keeping national security law devotees up to date on those topics that broadly effect military readiness, I thought I’d highlight a new Heritage Foundation special report released . . .
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A Quick Primer on Military Justice and The Manning Verdict

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 4:42 PM

After hearing evidence in a contested bench trial, Army Colonel Denise Lind, a military trial judge, found Pfc. Bradley Manning guilty of most of the charges and specifications today in a military court room at Fort Meade, Maryland, in connection with his release of documents to Wikileaks.  Manning faces a maximum possible sentence of over 128 . . .
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My Last Word on the New Bahlul Amicus

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013 at 3:07 PM

Thanks to his “sur-reply”, I finally understand the premise of Peter Margulies’s argument—and his amicus brief—in al Bahlul with regard to why the en banc D.C. Circuit can affirm Bahlul’s conspiracy conviction even though conspiracy is not a war crime under international law: Because Bahlul was actually tried for murder, even though no one in . . .
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Three Questions for Peter Margulies on the New Bahlul Amicus Brief

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Monday, July 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

There’s a lot to say about Peter Margulies’ reply to my and Kevin Heller’s criticisms of the “former government officials’” amicus brief in al Bahlul–the military commission appeal currently pending before the en banc D.C. Circuit, where the central question is whether the commission lawfully had jurisdiction to try and convict Bahlul of “conspiracy.” To put . . .
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Mixed Feelings on the NSA . . .

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Monday, July 29, 2013 at 6:16 AM

. . . from a cryptographer named Joseph Bonneau who receives an award from the agency: Yesterday I received the NSA award for the Best Scientific Cybersecurity Paper of 2012 for my IEEE Oakland paper “The science of guessing.” I’m honored to have been recognised by the distinguished academic panel assembled by the NSA. I’d like to again . . .
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A Response to Steve Vladeck and Kevin Jon Heller

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Saturday, July 27, 2013 at 8:40 AM

In recent posts both on Lawfare and at Opinio Juris, Steve and Kevin Jon Heller (here and here) sharply critiqued the brief that Jim Schoettler and I filed on Thursday for Former Government Officials, Former Military Lawyers and Scholars of National Security Law asking the en banc D.C. Circuit to uphold the military commission conviction . . .
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The Two Fundamental Flaws in the New Bahlul Amicus Brief

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Friday, July 26, 2013 at 10:44 AM

Raff already flagged yesterday’s filing of an amicus brief in support of the government in the Al Bahlul military commission appeal before the en banc D.C. Circuit by “former government officials, former military lawyers, and scholars of national security law,” a group that includes Ben, Ken, and two of my casebook co-authors–among others. At the . . .
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Justice Thomas and the Feres Doctrine

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Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 7:11 PM

Understandably lost in this week’s Supreme Court news was a somewhat surprising–and, in my view, welcome–dissent by Justice Thomas from the denial of certiorari in Lanus ex rel. Lanus v. United States. In his two-page dissent, Justice Thomas suggests that the Court should have granted cert. in order to revisit the “Feres” doctrine–named after a . . .
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The Continuing Importance of Military Commissions

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Monday, June 17, 2013 at 7:53 AM

As Ben noted on the day of President Obama’s big counterterrorism speech last month, one of the speech’s most notable elements was President Obama’s strong reaffirmation of the utility of military commissions, and his announcement that he wanted them to be used inside the United States.  I have built on Ben’s point in an essay . . .
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Article III Limits on Military Commissions, the (New) NIMJ Amicus Brief, and the En Banc D.C. Circuit

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Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 10:30 AM

Wells already flagged yesterday’s news re: General Martins’ apparent skepticism about the availability of conspiracy and military commission charges in future military commission cases (at least those brought against the current Guantánamo detainees, all of whom could raise the same ex post facto argument as the one at the heart of Hamdan II). As Wells . . .
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The Manning Public Access Litigation Moves to District Court

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Thursday, May 23, 2013 at 11:17 AM

Before it gets lost in the coverage of this afternoon’s speech by the President, I wanted to flag a very important development in the ongoing saga that is the Bradley Manning court-martial. Folks may recall my post from about a month ago on the sharply divided decision by the Court of Appeals for the Armed . . .
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Cert. Denied in Ali Court-Martial Case

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Monday, May 13, 2013 at 9:38 AM

Not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, it appears that the Supreme Court disagrees with me–and doesn’t think the constitutionality of courts-martial for civilian contractors is worth its time. [H/T: SCOTUSblog.]

Harold Koh on What Would Al Gore Do?

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 12:00 PM

From Harold Koh’s speech to the Oxford Union the other day: Suppose we are back at Sept 18, 2001, and Congress has just passed the AUMF against Al Qaeda. Suppose the President –let’s assume it for the sake of argument that it was the winner of the popular vote, Al Gore–gives a speech where he says: . . .
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Harold Koh Identifies Another Big Difference Between the Bush and Obama Administrations

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Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 10:00 AM

From Harold Koh’s speech to the Oxford Union the other day: the first “obvious” difference between the Bush and Obama administrations is that “the Obama Administration has not treated the post-9/11 conflict as a Global War on Terror to which no law applies, in which the United States is authorized to use force anywhere, against anyone. Instead, it . . .
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Look Who Has Discovered Inherent Presidential Powers

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 2:11 PM

Hmmmm. From Harold Koh’s speech to the Oxford Union: Congressional transfer restrictions with respect to Guantanamo detainees “must be construed in light of the President’s authority as commander-in chief to regulate the movement of law-of-war detainees, as diplomat-in-chief  to arrange diplomatic transfers, and as prosecutor-in-chief to determine who should be prosecuted and where.”