The timing of the announcement to replace the military commission judge on the 9/11 cases is highly suspect and disturbing. We cannot allow the Bush administration to sabotage President-elect Obama's plans by ramming through these cases in its last days while the new administration is making plans to dismantle the military commission system.
Kohlmann has served as chief judge of the military commissions since 2007. After his appointment, the New York Timesnoted [report] that Kohlmann had criticized the concept of military commissions in a paper [text] he had written in 2002 as a master's student at the US Naval War College [official website]. Kohlmann wrote that US district courts would be a better venue for terrorism suspects' trials because of a perception that military commissions lack independence and credibility. In another recent personnel change at the military commissions, US Air Force Brig. Gen. Thomas Hartmann [official profile; JURIST news archive] was reassigned [JURIST report] to the newly-created position of director of operations of the Office of Military Commissions. In his former position as legal advisor to the military commissions, Hartmann had been barred from taking part in certain detainees' trials on the grounds that he was biased toward the prosecution [JURIST report].
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.