Breaking: Gitmo military judge refuses Obama request (or was it an order?)

Posted by: ST on January 29, 2009 at 1:15 pm

Via Fox News:

A military judge has refused the Obama administration’s request to delay the arraignment of Abu al-Nashiri, the accused planner of the 2000 USS Cole attack in Yemen, FOX News learned Thursday.

Judge James Pohl’s ruling throws a wrench in President Obama’s plans to suspend the military tribunal process for 120 days while the administration reviews how to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within the year.

Pohl’s decision is striking because two other military judges in a Sept. 11 conspiracy case and in the case of Canadian Al Qaeda operative Omar Khadr agreed to suspend proceedings in accordance with Obama’s recent executive order, which put a hold on all military tribunals.

Al-Nashiri’s arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 9 at Guantanamo Bay. A Defense Department spokesman said the only thing now that can stop the court appearance from going forward is a withdrawal of the charges without prejudice by Judge Susan Crawford, head of the convening authority that oversees the entire process at Guantanamo.

The article suggests that perhaps it wasn’t just a request but an “order” so I’m not sure which is the case. Either way, considering the highly charged political atmosphere surrounding Gitmo right now, this story is explosive. Any history buffs out there know if there have been any other instances of a military judge refusing a request/order from their CIC to suspend an arraignment?

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3 Responses to “Breaking: Gitmo military judge refuses Obama request (or was it an order?)”


  1. Larry Sheldon says:

    But but but but but bu….

    I thought judicial activism was a Good Thing?

  2. Joe S says:

    Obamas’ EO can “request” the suspension of tribunals he can not order them. While military judges fall under the CIC they are still bound to follow the Constitution and Rule of Law. The Military Commissions Act that was signed into law under a Democratic lead Legislative Branch last year is the law of the land and, the Pres. can not direct an officer of the court to go against it.

    As Col. Pohl said: “Congress passed the military commissions act, which remains in effect. The Commission is bound by the law as it currently exists, not as it may change in the future.”

    One would think a Constitutional Lawyer would have understood that.

  3. What Joe said. Precisely the reason the Founders separated the branches, so that the political couldn’t dictate to the judicial.

    The Administration knows that – which is why they asked, and didn’t direct.