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“By what law will you try me?”

Guantanimo prisoner, whose case had already been dismissed in 2006, is back on trial under the Military Commissions Act.

But Hamdan’s central question remained: “By what law will you try me?”

The judge responded with the only answer he could: The military commissions law passed by Congress in 2006.

“But the government changed the law to its advantage,” Hamdan replied. “I am not being tried by the American law.”

To me, this is an open and shut case: the constitution defines the legal system, and its fifth amendment reads in part: “nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy.” The MCA attempts to sidestep that restriction, but that shouldn’t work. America can only improve its relations with the world by returning to its former standard of conduct: well-defined, humanistic, and just. Justice would best be served if this case makes its way up the chain and ends up striking down the MCA.

I’m not sure that can actually happen; the court in which Hamdan is being tried is not technically part of the American legal system, being a military commission and all. Regardless, and no matter the crimes of which he is accused, in this case I am rooting for Hamdan.

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