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Military Commissions

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Marc Thiessen has this column in the WaPo on military commission trials in the wake of the Ghailani debacle.  He cites former AG Michael Mukasey for the proposition that the key evidence excluded by the trial judge would likely have been admissible in a military commission trial.

Media Matters makes the predictable response: "However, as Media Matters has noted, numerous legal experts -- including the federal judge presiding over Ghailani's case -- have argued that a military commission would have also likely excluded this testimony." 

"Likely" is an overstatement as to the judge's opinion.  He discussed the issue in a footnote but did not purport to resolve it.

Thiessen responds to MM and other critics on the PostPartisan blog.

Apparently Judge Mukasey does not qualify mention as a "legal expert" in the eyes of George Soros and the folks at Media Matters. Nor does he qualify as such in the eyes of Adam Serwer, who writes on the Post's Plum Line blog today:

Thiessen borrows the authority of former attorney general Michael Mukasey to bolster his point, but despite his admirable efforts to depoliticize the Justice Department following Alberto Gonzales's embarrassing tenure, Mukasey has become a much more partisan figure of late.
So those who agree with civilian trials are "legal experts" but those who disagree are "partisan figures"?

Yep, that's par for the course.  I remember vividly the "experts'" interpretation of the key habeas reform passed by Congress in 1996.  As the measure was moving through Congress, the "experts" denounced it as a radical change in the law of habeas corpus.  Immediately after enactment, the "experts" quickly reached a consensus that it didn't really change much but had just codified the pre-existing case law of Teague v. Lane.  They were wrong, of course.  On politically charged issues, you can always get numerous academic opinions supporting the PC line, no matter what it is.

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