Supreme Court hears rare appeal challenging military judges

The Supreme Court delved into unusual terrain on Tuesday when it heard arguments brought by military service members ...

Posted: Jan 17, 2018 8:29 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 8:29 AM

The Supreme Court delved into unusual terrain on Tuesday when it heard arguments brought by military service members -- the first time the justices have heard such a case in 21 years.

At issue in the case -- Dalmazzi v. United States -- is an 1870 statute that prohibits active-duty service members from holding a second elected or appointed government office unless Congress expressly authorizes it. It's this law, for example, that prevents active-duty military officers from holding most Cabinet positions, or from being elected to state or local office.

In this case, the issue arises from the appointment of four military judges to also serve as judges on the Court of Military Commission Review, the special appeals court Congress created in 2006 to oversee the Guant-namo military commissions.

Eight service members were convicted by court-martial, and had their appeal heard by one of these four miliary judges while they were serving in both capacities. And under the 1870 statute, the service members argue, the appointment of these judges to this second office should have required them to forfeit their military status -- thereby disqualifying them from hearing their appeals.

During over an hour of oral arguments, the justices didn't clearly signal which way they were headed.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg worried at one point about the fate of the judges who had agreed to serve in both capacities. She wondered if they had been given "fair notice" of the potentially "draconian" consequence that they wouldn't be able to serve in the military.

"This is an important test case for a quietly important statute," said Steve Vladeck, lawyer to service members and also a CNN contributor. "The ban on dual officeholding helps to prevent against the excessive militarization of civilian governmental institutions, including, in this case, the courts."

The Trump administration argues that only one of the eight cases is properly before the Supreme Court in the first place, and that, in that case, the dual-officeholding ban isn't implicated because judges hearing appeals from military commissions exercise "a classic military function." And even if they do, the government claims that a 1983 amendment to the dual-officeholding ban insulates violations of that law from these kinds of legal challenges.

West Lafayette
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 67°
Kokomo
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 67°
Rensselaer
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Fowler
Overcast
61° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Williamsport
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 62°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Frankfort
Overcast
67° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 67°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
69° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 69°
Logansport
Scattered Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 72°
Dry, windy, very warm weather, followed by scattered rain & much cooler conditions.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 115407

Reported Deaths: 3566
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21196765
Lake10493323
Elkhart6528110
St. Joseph6392106
Allen6178202
Hamilton4848109
Vanderburgh360930
Hendricks2715123
Monroe256036
Tippecanoe239113
Johnson2305123
Clark221457
Porter213647
Delaware194262
Cass19419
Vigo182526
Madison164375
LaPorte142340
Floyd135862
Howard130563
Warrick128038
Kosciusko121617
Bartholomew116457
Marshall100824
Dubois96919
Boone96846
Hancock92143
Grant91934
Noble90832
Henry79826
Wayne75414
Jackson7499
Morgan71638
Shelby67229
Daviess66328
Dearborn66028
LaGrange63411
Clinton59914
Harrison57624
Putnam56412
Knox5159
Gibson5114
Lawrence51129
Montgomery50821
White48514
DeKalb47611
Decatur45839
Miami4353
Greene42435
Fayette42113
Jasper3942
Steuben3807
Scott37311
Sullivan33712
Posey3240
Jennings31312
Franklin30725
Clay3005
Ripley2968
Orange28824
Carroll27413
Whitley2707
Washington2651
Wabash2648
Starke2637
Adams2613
Wells2614
Jefferson2483
Spencer2413
Fulton2382
Huntington2363
Tipton22622
Perry22113
Randolph2167
Jay1800
Newton17311
Owen1681
Martin1640
Rush1554
Pike1471
Vermillion1280
Fountain1232
Blackford1193
Pulaski1131
Crawford1050
Brown1043
Parke962
Benton880
Ohio787
Union780
Switzerland690
Warren391
Unassigned0226

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events