The AP reports that a military court has rejected an attempt by Salim Hamdan, a former driver and bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, to block his war-crimes trial by military commission.
That’s welcome news, but it’s not where the main game is being played. That’s happening in the civilian court, specifically, the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. As I noted in this post a couple of weeks ago, federal district judges have been assigned various enemy-combatant cases in the wake of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Boumediene. Hamdan’s lawyers are arguing, not surprisingly, that the rationale of Boumediene, which invalidated the military’s detention proceedings, should also bar military commission trials. Hamdan’s case has been assigned to Judge James Robertson, the same judge who, a few years back, blocked his military commission trial as a Geneva Convention violation — the ruling that led ultimately to the Supreme Court’s voiding of military commissions in 2006.
My sense is that Judge Robertson will have a lot more to say about whether Hamdan’s commission trial goes forward than today’s military court decision will.