In Time of War

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Here is presented a forgotten episode of WWII, the Supreme Court case it sparked, and the precedent it set for secret military tribunals in Guantanamo Bay.

In 1942, eight Nazi saboteurs were caught on American beaches after one turned the others in. The execution of the saboteurs was challenged in court but eventually upheld in the Supreme Court's ruling in Ex parte Quirin, a decision that has frequently been cited by the George W. Bush administration in support of its declared power to hold "enemy combatants" and try them by military commission.

This use of Ex parte Quirin is clearly on the mind of O'Donnell, a former Supreme Court law clerk, in his narrative of the case, which argues that we should be cautious in applying it as precedence because the process by which it was decided by the Supreme Court was illegitimate.

©2005 Pierce O'Donnell; (P)2006 Blackstone Audiobooks

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