We’ve received an unconfirmed report that Vice Admiral Bruce MacDonald, the former Judge Advocate General of the Navy, will fill the military commission system’s convening authority role that CAAF Senior Judge Susan Crawford recently vacated.  Can anyone confirm or deny?

14 Responses to “Speaking of Judge Advocates General . . .”

  1. Former 45er says:

    If true, this would be great news. Regardless of what side you are on about the commissions, it would only be a good thing to have someone of his character, experience and integrity as the CA.

    I have strong feelings about Judge Crawford and her political/jurisprudential outlook, as well as the political motivations behind her selection as the CA, and am correspondingly skeptical of the commissions process. However, potentially having Adm MacDonald as the CA would go a long way in mitigating those concerns.

  2. Atticus says:

    You mean that jurisprudential outlook that did not like expansive views of extending CAAF’s limited jurisdiction and reversing cases without actually identifying any errors or material prejudice under 59(a)?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Well said, Atticus!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another beltway bandit merry-go-round…

  5. EXCELSIOR says:

    re: Atticus et al., 45er was probably referring to voting for the government in nearly every case and then leaving CAAF to work for the government. Just a guess.

    She never had any business working for the current administration.

  6. anonymous says:

    Does the convening authority have to know anything about military justice, criminal procedure, or constitutional law?

  7. Cheap Seats says:

    Ouch, anonymous 1137. Just because he is/was an Op-Law (I-Law) guy, doesn’t warrant that comment. I have a bigger concern that he used to call Trial Counsel after a high-profile win but not Defense Counsel after a high-profile win. Still doesn’t warrant that comment. If it is true, congrats VADM Mac!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know, if he has very little criminal law experience, why wouldn’t that have a bearing on opinions about whether he should have been selected for this position?

  9. anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t a strong knowledge of international law be just as helpful as knowing the MREs and RCMs? Frankly, I think knowing the GC and other international stadards and treaties is more important than a lot of the day to day nuances of the commissions process. CAs are not, per se, military justice experts. VADM MacDonald was the CO of a NLSO who had no TCs working for him. Why would he call a TC after a trial win or is that speculation?

  10. Cheap Seats says:

    Not speculation. I’ve talked to the TC (and DC). These calls were when he was DJAG and JAG, not a NLSO CO. I completely agree with his I-Law adding to credibility as CA. Again, I believe it is probably a good fit.

  11. anonymous says:

    Which cases? What were the case names?

  12. Cheap Seats says:

    US v Owens; US v Morrison. Both High-profile Naval Academy trials.

  13. anonymous says:

    Owens was an aquittal, what did the DJAG tell the TC? Nice job blowing the case?

  14. Dr. Horrible says:

    Owens was found guilty of Conduct Unbecoming and awarded no punishment.

    MacDonald also has done several high profile courts of inquiry… (the sub/japanese fishing boat accident comes to mind).