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Touro Law Review

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Today when I left my house, I was listening to the radio. The U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, announced that the government had arrested and indicted six people for terrorism. Included among these suspects were four Americans. I was just about to turn off the radio when it was announced that the U.S. Attorney in Oregon was asked, "Why didn't you put them in front of a military commission?" I was in such a rush to get here that I did not get the immediate answer, but I'll give you another question.

To put this in a contemporary framework, yesterday, some terrible person outside of Maryland killed five people. Suppose he was an alien, not a U.S. citizen, and suppose further that he had training in Al Qaeda or something, or he was training in Afghanistan. I assume killing five people was a terrorist act. Could that type of person be tried by these famous military commissions? Possibly, if he were not a U.S. citizen. While President Bush signed a military commission order providing for military trials for non-U.S. citizens, American citizens may not be tried in such a forum. I just raise these issues to give you the kind of thinking that we all have to confront at this point.