The president’s use of his Article II power to pardon war crimes raises fundamental issues of the rule of law.
The U.S. military retains legal jurisdiction over members of the armed services and prisoners of war, as well as--more controversially--unlawful combatants and those who contest their status as combatants. In the years after 9/11, much of the discussion on military justice has focused on the use of military jurisdiction to detain and try suspected combatants. However, issues such as sexual assault within the armed forces and the high-profile court-martial of Pfc. Chelsea Manning continue to remind us that questions of military justice are not confined to military detentions and commissions--indeed, far from it.