Sunday, September 24, 2017

Military officers holding civil offices

Prof. Steve Vladeck
Global Military Justice Reform contributor (and University of Texas law professor) Steve Vladeck has this Lawfare post on a brace of cases in which the Supreme Court is asked to rule on the impact of an obscure but important federal law. [Full disclosure: the editor is a co-counsel.] Excerpt:
We often take for granted the principle of civilian control of the military—and the related but distinct corollary disfavoring military control of civilian affairs. Much like the better-known (and eight years younger) Posse Comitatus Act, the civil office ban codified at [10 U.S.C.] § 973(b)(2) is an important statutory codification of this larger principle—or, at least, has been for its first 147 years on the books. What’s at stake in the petitions the Supreme Court is set to consider on Monday is not just the fate of the four military officers whose service as CMCR judges has been called into question, but the fate of the civil office ban writ large. Lots of other cases have generated (and will generate) more headlines, but these petitions present what is unquestionably the most important civil-military relations question that the Justices have confronted in decades, no matter how it ought to be resolved.

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