July 18, 2008 | National Review Online

Hamdan: I’m Happy to Report I Was Wrong

Salim Hamdan’s military commission trial will proceed, perhaps as early as Monday.

The New York Times reports this morning that yesterday’s military court ruling that the trial should go forward was followed by the ruling of a civilian federal district court drawing the same conclusion.

Judge James Robertson of the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., decided yesterday not to bar the commission trial at this stage.  As this post from yesterday suggests, I am pleasantly surprised by this ruling.  To be sure, Judge Robertson — the judge who initially barred Hamdan’s trial several years ago — indicated that he believes the commission presents serious constitutional issues.  But, in stark contrast to the Supreme Court’s approach in the June 12 Boumediene ruling, he correctly reasoned that the proper approach is to permit the trial to occur and then consider any claimed errors — constitutional or otherwise — on a concrete factual records.  That is, the commission system will get a chance to prove its mettle in a real case, not be judged by the anticipatory nightmare scenarios sketched by defense lawyers.

That is as it should be.  It is what the Supreme Court should have done with military detention proceedings.


Read in National Review Online