Legal Expert: Congress Can’t Rubber Stamp Military Commissions Without Endangering U.S. Troops


Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Hamdan case, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) went on television and said that all Congress needed to do was provide its “blessing” to Bush’s procedures. Many others, especially critics of the decision, have echoed Graham’s position.

Today, Georgetown Law Professor Carlos Vazquez explained that things aren’t as simple as Graham and others would have you believe.

Vazquez said that Congress could pass a law authorizing the procedures ruled illegal by the court. But according to the court’s decision, doing so would abrogate Common Article 3 of Geneva Conventions. This would have serious consequences because the Geneva Conventions provide essential protections to U.S. troops abroad. Watch it:

Vazquez also noted that — contrary to some interpretations circulating in the blogosphere — the court did not find the Geneva Conventions were only relevant because they were incorporated into the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Even if you amend that law, Gevena still applies.

You can find a summary of Vazquez remarks on the Georgetown Law blog.