To Tribunal Or Not To Tribunal?

Robert A. Levy has a good article in NRO on the
dubious Constitutionality of Jose Padilla’s indefinite detention
. It is quite interesting to note that both Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid, both of whom are non-citizens, are receiving federal trials like any other criminals while Padilla Yaser Esam Hamdi who both have US citizenship need not have councel.

From a practical standpoint, I understand the Bush administration’s desire to use military tribunals to avoid potential leaks and to allow for thorough interrogations of al-Qaeda members. However, Levy is correct in pointing out that Bush is violating terms of the USA PATRIOT Act as well as the US Constitution. Getting Congressional approval for these trials shouldn’t be that hard, and would help quell some of the Constitutional problems with these detentions. Furthermore, it is also important for the Bush Administration to make sure that the trial procedures for terrorists are consistent, and that if military tribunals are appropriate, both Moussaoui and Reid should be held under those terms.

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