Search This Blog

Sen. Judiciary Cmte., Military Commissions (a.k.a. Military Tribunals): Sen. Feinstein Questions 9th Circuit Court Nominee Daniel Collins - March 13, 2019

Watch the video clip here:

Watch the full hearing here:

Sen. Feinstein: You also filed an amicus brief in the 2006 Hamdan case, a very famous case, Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which you argued President Bush properly exercised his authority as commander in chief when he established military commissions to try Guantanamo detainees without explicit authorization from Congress. The Supreme Court disagreed with you and held the commissions violated both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention. In July 2006 testimony before this committee, you suggested that Congress should, quote, “move promptly to overrule the Hamdan commission by statute.” So here’s the question. What’s the basis for your conclusion that military commissions are better suited than Article 3 courts to try a terrorism suspect?

Daniel Collins, U.S. Court of Appeals Ninth Circuit Nominee: “Well there was I think a broad consensus among a number of people at the time that military commissions should be retained as an option because they provided somewhat greater flexibilty for particularly difficult cases. The Congress ultimately did adopt a Military Commissions Act in 2006 that then was sthe subject of a further Supreme Court case.”

Feinstein: “Do you have that view today?

Collins: “At this point as a nominee to an Article III court, I’m not going to get to have policy views on those kinds of issues, which are for the political branch to resolve.”

Sen. Feinstein: Okay let me ask you another one. Do you believe that trial by military commission is appropriate for U.S. citizens accused of terrorism in the United States?

Collins: “I don’t know that I ever specifically opined on that question.”

Feinstein: “I don’t know whether you did or not. I’m asking you the question.”

Collins: “I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to answer that kind of a hypothetical. That’s something that could come before the courts.”

Feinstein: “Well, I’m not sure that’s a valid reason that a trial by a U.S. military commission for a U.S. citizen accused of terrorism could be held by a military commission as opposed to a court. So you’re saying you don’t have an opinion on that subject?”

Collins: “No, I’m saying that that kind of claim, that a military commission would be inappropriate, is something that someone who was contesting would then file in a court and I don’t think it would be appropriate for me as a nominee to a court to opine on that open question.”

Feinstein: “Let me move on.”
Public domain. Opinions are the author's own.