Monday, May 9, 2016

Troubling neglect of courts-martial

Prof. Steven Vladeck
Prof. (and Global Military Justice Reform contributor) Steven Vladeck has written this Just Security post on The Supreme Court's Troubling Neglect of Courts-Martial. He comments:
Why does the Supreme Court ignore the military even in cases in which it has jurisdiction to review a court-martial? It seems to me that there are three possible explanations: 
  1. There is a perception that the issues presented in appeals from CAAF just aren’t worth the Court’s time, especially since they’re usually only about military law and/or procedure, and seldom have implications outside the military justice system; 
  2. Even if the issues are sometimes cert.-worthy, the Court views its relationship with the military courts differently than its relationship with lower federal and state courts — and is more inclined to defer to CAAF’s resolution of these issues; or
  3. The decline in review of courts-martial is part of the larger waning of the Court’s interest in direct criminal appeals (including, in the most recent Term, a grand total of two merits decisions arising out of direct appeals from state courts in criminal cases). 
My own view, for what it’s worth, is that it’s mostly a combination of (2) and (3) . . . .

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