04 June 2009

Congressional subcommittee witnesses announced for servicemembers' Supreme Court access bill; hearing rescheduled

[UPDATED from earlier post.] The Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy of the House Judiciary Committee has just rescheduled tomorrow's hearing on the Equal Justice for Our Military Act of 2009, HR 569 to Thursday 11 June 2009. Earlier today the witness list was made public. The witness are:

Panel I

Rep. Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Chairwoman, Subcommittee on Military Personnel, House Armed Services Committee. Rep. Davis is the chief sponsor of the bill and as such will testify in support of it.

Panel II

Major General John Altenburg, Jr., U.S. Army (Retired). MG Altenburg was the U.S. Army Deputy Judge Advocate General from 1997 - 2001. Most recently he served as the appointing authority for military commissions. It is believed that MG Altenburg will testify in opposition of the bill.

Brigadier General Malinda Dunn, U.S. Army
, Assistant Judge Advocate General of the Army for Military Law and Operations. It is believed that BG Dunn will testify in opposition of the bill.

(In past Congresses two Army veterans also opposed similar bills: Daniel Dell'Orto and William Haynes II. Conversely, there is a long list of Navy and Marine Corps veterans -- including flag and general officers and senior enlisted -- that support the bill. I'm now beginning to feel like I'm at an Army-Navy football game.)

Dwight Sullivan in his personal capacity. For background purposes only: Mr. Sullivan is a senior civilian defense attorney for the U.S. Air Force and a Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. He has previously served as chief defense counsel for the military commissions office. Mr. Sullivan's testimony will be in his personal capacity only and not as a representative for any government entity. Mr. Sullivan will testify in support of the bill.

H. Thomas Wells, Jr., President of the American Bar Association. Mr. Wells will be testifying in support of the bill. In 2006 the ABA passed a resolution calling on Congress to fix the long standing inequity in American law and give servicemembers equal access to the high court. The ABA resolution can be found here.

The witness list can also be found on the House Judiciary's website here. On the day of the hearing the opening statements of the witnesses will become available. Just click on the name of the witness to retrieve a pdf that witness' opening testimony.

[Note: The author of this post has been a long time advocate for the legislation and has actively lobbied for its passage.]

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