A New Court for Detainees

Congress has the Constitutional authority, and in this case, the responsibility, to create courts inferior to the Supreme Court. Military tribunals are not appropriate for this purpose, nor is the US Federal Court system. Whatever it is called, Congress can create this court, describe its purpose and makeup, establish its jurisdiction, and outline the exact rules under which it would operate. Convictions under this system would be subject to justified imprisonment, and not open-ended detention. Acquittals under this system could be extradited to their countries of origin.

There is no requirement to allow non-citizens, particularly those captured in foreign theaters of combat, to have the same rights of due process as Americans. Indeed, to do such would be to cheapen our own status as citizens. However, I do agree that some sort of structured process for trial should be designated. We are a nation of laws, and we believe in a trial for all accused. The distinction is actually rather simplistic: Federal courts have no jurisdiction outside the US, and military tribunals are meant for members of the military. These detainees’ cases do not fall into either category.

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