|Prof. Anthony Ghiotto|
[I]n not opposing the Department of Justice’s request, the top military lawyers failed their subordinate JAGs. They have allowed 21 JAGs to walk into a political firestorm with grave due process concerns – a situation where President [Donald J.] Trump tweeted that the defendants should not have any access to the legal system.
They will walk into courtrooms and conduct mass trials with 40 to 70 defendants. These defendants do not speak English. They often share one public defender and may only spend five minutes consulting with that overworked attorney. They have no ability to mount a defense. The detainees in Iraq in 2007, in Afghanistan in 2010, and at Guantanamo Bay now have more due process rights and more access to legal representation.
Allowing JAGs to serve in this capacity politicizes their work and endorses these questionable court proceedings. It shifts the nature of the JAG Corps from an institution dedicated to candid legal advice in the war-fighting context to a political tool used for political objectives whenever the Department of Justice is not adequately funded.