Hamdan v The Military Commissions Act

Brian Zick

Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog reports: Lawyers for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, in a sweeping challenge to the new Military Commissions Act, on Friday added a handful of new fundamental constitutional complaints as they filed the first full-scale brief by opponents. Hamdan, whose case led last June to perhaps the most important Supreme Court ruling ever on presidential war powers, is facing war crimes charges before a military commission to be set up by the new Act.The new 45-page brief seeking to head off that trial was filed in U.S. District Court; his case (04-1519) returned to the Washington court after the Supreme Court ruling. UPDATE: A new amicus brief, filed by four retired generals, two retired admirals and a retired Central Intelligence Agency officer, supports Hamdan's claim that he has a right to continued protection under the Geneva Conventions. In addition to the argument that the Military Commissions Act is an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, these additional constitutional challenges have been enumerated: 1. It violates separation-of-powers principles. 2. It sets up a new commission system perhaps more deficient than the one struck down. 3. It amounts to an unconstitutional "bill of attainder." 4. It violates the guarantee of equal protection of the law.

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