Ah 2006; that was an interesting year for military justice.
Two new CAAF judges were nominated and confirmed. The tenures of Chief Judge Gierke, with his impressive body of procedure-oriented jurisprudence, and Judge Crawford — who had become an increasingly isolated but vehement voice in dissent — ended. Chief Judge Effron moved to the middle seat and picked up the gavel. The Supreme Court issued a landmark opinion that provided a fresh interpretation of Article 36 of the UCMJ. Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 126 S.Ct. 2749 (2006). Congress changed the UCMJ to subject some civilian contractors to court-martial jurisdiction. And CAAF delivered a WWF-worthy smackdown in United States v. Moreno, 63 M.J. 129 (C.A.A.F. 2006).
But just as surely as a wild night with one too many mojitos is followed by a quiet morning gently massaging one’s temples, 2006 was followed by 2007. And in 2007, nothing happened. Or, to paraphrase Gilbert and Sullivan, well, hardly anything.
2007 is remarkable more for what didn’t occur than what did. The SG didn’t seek cert in Lane. Congress allowed the Equal Justice for Our Military Act to lapse into a coma and then unobtrusively die. NMCCA didn’t release an opinion in Walker. Despite any predictions that Guert or I may have made to the contrary, United States v. Leonard, 64 M.J. 381 (C.A.A.F. 2007), resulted in neither the repeal of the UCMJ nor the melting of the polar ice caps. The Supremes denied cert in United States ex rel. New v. Gates, 127 S. Ct. 2096 (2007). And the Judge Advocates General didn’t get their third star.
So what were the big military justice stories of 2007? Heck if I know. That’s where you come in. Please post your nomination for military justice story of the year. If you are the first to post the winning entry, as selected by our anonymous panel of military justice geeks applying idiosyncratic criteria and answering to no one, you could become the proud owner of a CAAFlog t-shirt. Please post your entries NLT 1930 EST on New Year’s Day, 1 January 2008.