The Court of Military Commission Review today issued two orders indicating that certain judges had recused themselves in two pending appeals, Hamdan and al Bahlul.  Acting CMCR Chief Judge O’Toole wrote a lengthy and scholarly memorandum in each case explaining why he recused himself.  We’ve posted the orders and accompanying memoranda here and here.  We previously discussed the appellants’ disqualification motions here, here, here, and here.  CMCR will now consider both Hamdan and al Bahlul en banc.

While, for a variety of reasons, I normally don’t blog about military commission matters, I note today’s orders and memoranda due to their overlap with the military justice system’s appellate system.

2 Responses to “CMCR judges recuse themselves”

  1. bill almett says:

    Why don’t you like to comment on military commissions matters Col Sullivan?

  2. Dwight Sullivan says:

    Mr. Almett, there are several reasons why I generally (though not invariably) avoid blogging about commission topics. First, the commission system is incredibly protean. The legal system generally values consistency — hence the doctrine of stare decisis — but the commission system is anything but consistent. When I left my position as OMC chief defense counsel in August 2007, I knew a lot about the military commission system as it was then structured. But it has changed considerably since. My knowledge of the system is thus dated and not terribily relevant to the current system. And without being involved in the system from day to day — as I was for two years — it would be very difficult to attempt to speak intelligently about it.

    Also, some past discussions of military commission matters on this blog quickly degenerated into swinging political haymakers.

    Also, while this concern has certainly diminished over time, some of my personal views about the military commission system are inconsistent with those advanced by clients of the OMC defense office while I was there. I think we’re well past the point when anyone cares what I think about the military commission system. But in the immediate aftermath of my service as chief defense counsel, I didn’t want to take a public position inconsistent with arguments being advanced by lawyers I had supervised a short time before. Those are the main reasons.