Document Type


Publication Title

Touro Law Review

Publication Date



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.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.