Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2419342
 


 



Military Courts and Article III


Stephen I. Vladeck


American University - Washington College of Law

October 9, 2014

103 Georgetown Law Journal, 2015, Forthcoming

Abstract:     
The Supreme Court has held that non-Article III federal adjudication is permissible only in the three categories of cases in which the Court has previously allowed it — all cases before federal “territorial” courts; criminal prosecutions in military tribunals; and “public rights” adjudication before non-Article III judicial or administrative bodies. And although the Justices have repeatedly grappled with the outer bounds of this last category in recent years, they have generally accepted the first two as settled. Scholars have followed suit, with virtually all of the extensive literature in the field focusing on the specific scope of the public rights exception, or on the search for cross-cutting theories of Article III.

As a result, it has been decades since any concerted effort has been undertaken to rationalize the scope of the military exception — whether to the Constitution’s text or purpose or to more prudential considerations. And although the similarly neglected territorial courts have remained largely untouched over the past quarter-century, the same period has witnessed significant expansions in the scope of both court-martial and military commission jurisdiction to encompass offenses and offenders not previously thought to be amenable to military, rather than civilian, trials. Given these expansions, the litigation that they have provoked, and the tension they have placed upon the military exception, the time has long since passed for a reassessment of where and how military courts fit into our understanding of Article III — and the exceptions thereto.

This article undertakes such a reassessment. It demonstrates not only that these expansions cannot be reconciled with the underlying justifications for the military exception, but that they only further illuminate a series of deeper puzzles raised — and never answered — by the Supreme Court’s historical articulation of the military exception. As it explains, one way to resolve these puzzles — and to place the military exception on far sounder philosophical, analytical, and constitutional footing going forward — is to appreciate the long-neglected role of international law in at once authorizing and circumscribing departures from Article III. And although this conclusion has already started to emerge in litigation over the Guantánamo military commissions, its implications for courts-martial have not yet been appreciated.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 78

Keywords: Federal Courts, Article III, military courts, courts-martial, military courts, international law, military commissions, Guantanamo

Accepted Paper Series





Download This Paper

Date posted: April 3, 2014 ; Last revised: October 9, 2014

Suggested Citation

Vladeck, Stephen I., Military Courts and Article III (October 9, 2014). 103 Georgetown Law Journal, 2015, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2419342

Contact Information

Stephen I. Vladeck (Contact Author)
American University - Washington College of Law ( email )
4801 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington, DC 20016
United States
202-274-4241 (Phone)
Feedback to SSRN


Paper statistics
Abstract Views: 1,185
Downloads: 256
Download Rank: 69,016

© 2014 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.  FAQ   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy   Copyright   Contact Us
This page was processed by apollo5 in 0.407 seconds