the right to seek redress: now more of it for soldiers

Wow. Here’s a piece of news that snuck by many of us, at least me. From Legal Times:

The House Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would expand the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, allowing it to review petitions filed by military service members challenging courts-martial decisions.

Under current law, a service member is barred from petitioning the high court if the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces (CAAF) has refused to review his or her court-martial appeal or has denied a writ for extraordinary relief.  The only exception is when someone is sentenced to death. In contrast, the government has the right to petition the justices in any case referred to the CAAF.

And in case that still makes you suspicious, in general distrust of the system, the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009 is supported by the American Bar Association and a raft of other bar associations and veterans groups, as well as one of my personal favorites,  the National Institute for Military Justice.

The implications of this are pretty huge. My fear is that we’ll get gaybashers and those who abuse detainees clogging up the SCOTUS channel along with the media; while denying cert is one of the former’s favorite hobbies, the maw of the latter (me! me!) is never quite full. But the promise of the bill, especially as it pertains to those who speak out, is also huge.

I’ll contact some of the kickass attorneys I know and get them to explain how, sometime this week; but right now I’m thinking of course of Marc Hall, who I talked about yesterday, or Alexis Hutchinson, who had to choose her children’s safety. Meanwhile, good on Rep. Susan Davis, the bill’s sponsor, whose San Diego district includes more soldiers than any single one of the other 437.

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