al-Bahlul decided: Court invalidates military commission conviction for domestic-law offense

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by a 2-1 vote (Rogers and Tatel, Henderson dissenting) has overturned the conspiracy conviction on Article III grounds.

Steve will be posting much more shortly on the three opinions in the case.  [UPDATE:  Read all about it!]  But for now, this is the most important point:  This decision does not disempower the government at all in terms of its ability to prosecute crimes committed by enemy forces:  Domestic-law offenses can be — and successfully have been — prosecuted in Article III courts, with juries and judges who have tenure and salary protections; whereas violations of the international laws of war, such as those alleged in the 9/11 case, can also be tried in military commissions. 

About the Author(s)

Marty Lederman

Professor at the Georgetown University Law Center. He was Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the Office of Legal Counsel from 2009-2010, and Attorney Advisor at the Office of Legal Counsel from 1994-2002. Member of the editorial board of Just Security. You can follow him on Twitter (@marty_lederman).