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The Trial of Salim Hamdan: Santa Claus Pays an Early Visit to Guantanamo

Friday, Dec. 21, 2007

Round two of the trial of Salim Hamdan is now underway in earnest. Most will recall that round one ended when the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the military commission established by an order issued by President Bush violated constitutional separation of powers limitations (with a plurality of the court also concluding the commission violated the humane treatment mandate of the law of war). Congress responded rapidly to that ruling by passing the Military Commission Act of 2006, providing the president with a statutory basis for resurrecting the commissions.

Pursuant to that statute, Salim Hamdan was recharged and once again brought to trial before the commission. In what must have been an ironic coincidence, his second trial began on the same day the Supreme Court heard arguments in the Boumediene case challenging the restriction of habeas corpus access for Guantanamo detainees. That challenge, however, in no way restricted the ability of the government to press forward with Hamdan's trial. ...

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