There is no separation

A Corner reader actually bothers to read the HR6166 law that recently passed the House:

The current status of the bill allows military tribunals to declare citizens and resident aliens to be “unlawful enemy combatants.” Under the language of the bill, there is no test whatsoever for whether a citizen or noncitizen is an “unlawful enemy combatant.” Under the law, someone is an UEC if a military tribunal says so. That is to say, the tribunals have power that is not at all subject to contstraint or law—or even defined by law—but that extends to U.S. citizens….

`(1) UNLAWFUL ENEMY COMBATANT- (A) The term `unlawful enemy combatant’ means—

(ii) a person who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense….

`(c) Determination of Unlawful Enemy Combatant Status Dispositive- A finding, whether before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense that a person is an unlawful enemy combatant is dispositive for purposes of jurisdiction for trial by military commission under this chapter.

`(d) Punishments- A military commission under this chapter may, under such limitations as the Secretary of Defense may prescribe, adjudge any punishment not forbidden by this chapter, including the penalty of death when authorized under this chapter or the law of war.

In other words, a few Executive Branch employees will now be able declare any American citizen to be a Unlawful Enemy Combatant, sentence him to death and have him executed without allowing him any recourse to judicial due process. Of course, there’s no need to worry about this unless you’re doing something wrong… everyone knows that there’s no such thing as a slippery slope after all.

I somehow doubt those who are so unfortunate as to be familiar with the justice handed out in similar executive-branch administrative “courts” that violate the Constitutionally mandated separation of powers such as Family Court, Tax Court and Immigration Court will be surprised to see these “competent tribunals” similarly abusing their illegitimate powers in the near future.

I find it amazing that those who are so defensive of the mythical “separation of Church and State” find it so easy to accept violations of the actual “separation of powers”.

UPDATE: Some “conservative” fans of military tribunals are arguing that because the overall context of the law is ALIEN Unlawful Enemy Combatants, this can’t be applied to Americans. Given how the tax code is applied significantly more broadly than it is written, color me skeptical.

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