The Law: Rough Justice

The Attorney General has powerful new tools to fight terrorism. Has he gone too far?

The most tension-packed moment of Assistant Attorney General Michael Chertoff's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week came, not surprisingly, when he was forced to defend the Bush Administration's embrace of military tribunals. How could the U.S. hold trials in which the judges are military officers, just a two-thirds vote is sufficient to convict, and there is no need for proof beyond a reasonable doubt? How could the Administration support legal proceedings that are held in secret--meaning a defendant can go from being charged to being put to death without the public ever finding out? "Whether you have a civilian...

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