Justice for Terrorists
Justice for Terrorists J. Andrew Kent No aspect of the Bush administration’s policies since 9/11 has presented a more enduring source of controversy than its treatment of accused terrorists in its custody. The President’s first response, in the immediate wake of the attacks, was to authorize the creation of military tribunals to try those captured in the campaign in Afghanistan against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime. After more than two-and-a-half years, however, the administration has yet to use these tribunals, and has slated just six detainees for trial before them, only two of whom have been formally charged.
Instead, in the dozens of terrorism-related indictments that the Justice Department has brought over this period, the administration has turned to civilian courts, often asking judges to relax the ordinary rules of procedure in light of the intelligence and national-security concerns at stake. But at every turn, whether with the military tribunals or in civilian courts, the Bush administration’s efforts to restrict the usual workings of legal due process have prompted howls of outrage from both the Left and the libertarian Right.
About the Author
J. Andrew Kent, a new contributor, previously worked as a law clerk for two federal judges and is now a lawyer in private practice in New York.