Six years after the 9/11 attacks, U.S. policy concerning the detention of alleged terrorists remains legally uncertain and politically contested. The Bush administration has used three different mechanisms--traditional civil trials, military commissions, and military detentions--to justify the detention of terrorists, and not always in an obviously principled or coherent fashion. Congress has legislated with respect to military commissions in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. But despite numerous reform proposals, Congress has declined to address the more consequential issue of military detention without trial in any detail or to address the proper relationship among the three detention mechanisms. The Supreme Court has continued its biannual consideration of detention issues by granting certiorari in Boumediene v. Bush, a case challenging the Military Commissions Act of 2006. But there is little prospect that Boumediene will lay the detention debate to rest...

 

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