Review Essay

Terror and the Law

The Limits of Judicial Reasoning in the Post-9/11 World

In This Review

Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror

Law and the Long War: The Future of Justice in the Age of Terror
By Benjamin Wittes
Penguin Press, 2008, 277 pp. $25.95 Purchase

Lawyers and courts have become a central part of the Bush administration's "war on terror." The Justice Department's so-called torture memos and other legal documents have triggered extensive debates. The federal courts have entertained numerous habeas corpus challenges from detainees at the Guantánamo Bay detention center, as well as lawsuits on issues ranging from the electronic surveillance of U.S. citizens to the rendition of terrorist suspects to foreign countries. The Supreme Court has already issued three significant decisions concerning the war on terror, and by the time this review is published, it is expected to have issued a fourth.

Yet many fundamental legal questions remain unanswered. Who qualifies as an "enemy combatant" in this conflict? How must this classification be made? How long can such combatants be detained by the U.S. military without trial? These issues remain unresolved partly because the war on terror has been regulated

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