Powers of Military Tribunals


  • Permit extended detention and questioning of Middle Easterners recently entering United States.
  • Slow down the process for granting visas to Muslims.
  • Allow monitoring of communications between people in federal custody and their lawyers.
  • Non-U.S. citizens charged with terrorism can be tried in the United States, overseas, or even on military ships.
  • Suspects brought before a tribunal will have no right to seek redress in any state, federal, foreign, or international court.
  • Defendants could include suspects who attack Americans or U.S. interests.
  • May hold and try suspects in secret, with no public scrutiny. Freedom of Information Act may not apply.
  • Could impose any sentence, including death, with no judicial review.
  • May allow conviction after a “full and fair” trial by a two-thirds majority, as opposed to unanimous verdict.
  • Tribunals need not obey the principles of law and the rules of evidence used in U.S. District Courts.
  • Only the president or the secretary of defense will have the power to overturn a tribunal’s decisions.
  • The executive order has no apparent expiration date.
  • The order applies specifically to Al Qaeda.

Assault on Liberty:

Abandoning the Constitution to Military Tribunals by Nat Hentoff

Military Justice Is to Justice as Military Music Is to Music by Alan M. Dershowitz

No to Military Tribunals: They Are Not Fair by Norman Siegel

Powers of Military Tribunals by Jeffrey Herman