Gonzales, top Republicans anticipate law authorizing Gitmo military commissions

[JURIST] US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales [official profile] and several Republican US senators expressed optimism over the weekend that the administration and Congress will be able to strike an agreement on legislation to establish military commissions to try Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] detainees in the wake of Thursday's last week's US Supreme Court [official website] ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [JURIST report]. Gonzales said the Court's decision "hampered" the administration's ability to deal with terrorists [CNN report] but insisted the administration was hopeful that Congress would authorize trying enemy combatants through a military commission process. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) [official website], speaking on Fox News Sunday [transcript; podcast], opined that Article 3 of the Geneva Convention [ICRC materials], which the Supreme Court declared applicable to terror detainees at Guantanamo, is "far beyond" domestic law, saying Congress should "rein it in," adding that Congress will work with Bush to create "competent military commissions" for the detainees [press release]. Senate Republican Whip Mitch McConnell (KY) [official website], speaking on NBC's Meet the Press [transcript; recorded video] referred to the Hamdan decision as disturbing [press release] and expressed concern that US servicemen could be accused of war crimes. On ABC's This Week [ABC report; recorded video], Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) [official website] said that the "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo should not be afforded the same justice as servicemen. McCain said that though Bush and many in Congress have said they would like to close Guantanamo Bay, the real issue is the status of detainees held without charge and allegedly under harsh conditions. On CBS' Face the Nation [transcript, PDF], Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) [official website] said that Congress must harmonize the Bush administration's military commissions [DOD materials; JURIST news archive] with the Supreme Court's new guidelines.

Top Senate Democrats, meanwhile, called for more review of President Bush's war powers after the Hamdan decision, with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) [official website] saying on Fox News Sunday that the decision implies that Bush may have again overstepped his powers, as it has with the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program, alleged CIA rendition flights [JURIST news archives] and the recently exposed financial tracking program [JURIST report]. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) [official website] on NBC's Meet the Press accused the Bush administration of acting like they have "infinite" power, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) [official website] warned Republicans not to politicize the Hamdan decision on ABC's This Week [ABC report; recorded video]. AP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.



 

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