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The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the…

The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power

by Jonathan Mahler

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0374223203, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2008: There have by now been many insider accounts of the Bush Administration and its War on Terror. Jonathan Mahler's The Challenge: Hamdan v. Rumsfeld and the Fight over Presidential Power, on the other hand, is very much an outsider's account: the story of two lawyers and their attempt to scale the walls of the American government and overturn the system of military commissions set up to try the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. One observer called Hamdan v. Rumsfeld "the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law, ever," and Mahler's focus on the odd-couple lawyers--the blustery, impulsive Navy JAG who made defending Hamdan his mission and the brilliant and tireless Indian immigrant's son who risked a meteoric career with his obsession with the case--and his ability to communicate the grave constitutional consequences of the case and the often bizarrely circuitous path they must take to reach the Supreme Court make for a thrilling and moving drama of justice, democracy, and the patriotism of challenging your own government. --Tom Nissley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

In November 2001, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a 31-year-old Yemeni, was captured and turned over to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. After confessing to being Osama bin Laden's driver, Hamdan was transferred to Guant‚anamo Bay, and was soon designated by President Bush for trial before a special military tribunal. The Pentagon assigned a military defense lawyer to represent him, a 35-year-old graduate of the Naval Academy, Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift. No one expected Swift to mount much of a defense. The rules of the tribunals, America's first in over fifty years, were stacked against him--assuming he wasn't expected to throw the game altogether. Instead, with the help of a young constitutional law professor at Georgetown, Neal Katyal, Swift sued the Bush Administration over the legality of the tribunals. In 2006, Katyal argued the case before the Supreme Court and won. This is the inside story of what may be the most important decision on presidential power and the rule of law in the history of the Supreme Court.--From publisher description.… (more)

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