August 5, 2008
A Critique of National Security Courts
"Recently, some scholars and government officials have called for the creation of “national security courts”—specialized hybrid tribunals that would review the preventive detention of suspected terrorists (both within and outside of the territorial United States), conduct the detainees’ criminal trials, or, in some cases, both. Advocates for these courts claim that they offer an attractive middle ground between adherence to traditional criminal processes and radical departures from those processes.
For the reasons that follow, we, the undersigned members of the Constitution Project’s Liberty and Security Committee and its Coalition to Defend Checks and Balances, believe that the proposals to create these courts should be resisted. The proposals are surprisingly—indeed alarmingly—underdeveloped. More seriously, they neglect basic and fundamental principles of American constitutional law, and they assume incorrectly that the traditional processes have proven ineffective." [RJ]
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