Congress in the batter’s box

Dennis Byrne makes an important point about today’s Supreme Court decision in favor of Osama bin Laden’s driver — the decision in no way supports the claim that the administration’s actions towards Hamdan and his fellow terrorists violated or disregarded the rule of law. As Byrne notes, there was no settled law regarding the issues raised by Hamdan’s lawyers. The Bush administration’s position had some support in the law, as did Hamdan’s position. In the end, Justice Kennedy sided with Hamdan’s position and given the current composition of the Court, that was enough. The fact that Justice Kennedy saw the matter differently than the Bush administration doesn’t make the administration lawless. But now that the Supreme Court has ruled, the administration must (and will) comply with that ruling.

Fortunately, the administration can comply without granting terrorists the privilege of a federal trial or a court martial (the process we confer on our own soldiers when they are charged with various offenses in the course of their service to this country). All that’s needed is for Congress to pass a statute authorizing military tribunals for terrorists. Congress should act quickly to get this done.

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