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Tribunals Today

            A new problem has risen in the thick of the on-going war. President Bush approved a plan that allows the government to try suspected terrorists in private, without the normal laws of a fair trial. Many people living in all corners of the world are now questioning if this lives up to America's reputable justice system. It does not in many ways, and it will be looked at as an injustice if it isn't done according to American legal procedures. In the past these judicial laws have been bent in order to quickly abolish any threat to American people, but it has also gone the other way in different cases. The question our president is asking is simple: Is it worth the safety of our country to try these people as American civilians with all the inclusive rights that we have as law abiding citizens? In times of war, dealing with people trying to destroy America, the rules should be bent, but justice should always prevail no matter what the situation is.
             In 1863 a lawyer named Lambdin P. Milligan joined a group called the Sons of Liberty who talked of freeing Confederate prisoners in Indiana and Illinois. The group was arrested, tried in a military court, and sentenced to death for conspiracy and treason. Milligan filed a writ of habeas corpus with the high court. He argued that the use of military courts for civilians was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court blocked the execution saying that "The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances" (Savage, A5). The 1867 opinion of the court was very much against Abraham Lincoln's decision. At that time the Supreme Court justices said the case got turned over because the accused were American citizens. .
             In 1942 a similar case was formed against eight Nazis who had been dropped off on America's coast and were planning to destroy weapon facilities in America.

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