I DON’T THINK THOSE WORDS MEAN WHAT YOU THINK THEY MEAN

I read an interesting law review article recently. Written by a prominent military justice scholar, it largely argued that military commanders should retain their current role in the military justice process.[1] It reminded me of the oft-articulated argument for maximizing the jurisdiction of military courts and commanders over all offenses committed by military members. A cornerstone of this argument is that the “military is different.” As such, its specialized needs require a separate criminal justice system. But an article[2] I reviewed while researching my own forthcoming article on the little known (outside the military) military’s highest court’s military necessity doctrine highlights the fact that this phrase, so often relied upon in support of the status quo, stood for the exact opposite proposition.

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