Thursday, May 5, 2016

ABA opposes key parts of Obama administration military justice proposal

On May 5, 2016, ABA President Paulette Brown sent letters to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees opposing several parts of the Obama administrations legislative proposal for basic changes in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The letter to the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee can be found here.

This kind of correspondence ought to be posted on the Military Justice Review Group's website, along with the Department's response. If anyone else has written to the committees, please use the comment function to post a link (real names only, please).

It would be interesting to know how the ABA came to submit these objections. Did they emerge from the Judge Advocates Association, one or more ABA Sections or Standing Committees, or did they come about in some other way? Are they a rerun of objections that were made unsuccessfully during the intradepartmental review of the Military Justice Review Group's draft (which has not been made public)?

The ABA's letter is silent on the fact that the administration's proposal would not remedy the current indefensible limits on access to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces has denied discretionary review. The ABA, then headed by H. Thomas Wells Jr., favored corrective legislation in 2008, according to this New York Times article.

At this writing we have no information as to when (if ever) the cognizant committees will conduct public hearings on the administration's proposal.

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