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War crimes trial may go ahead

The Supreme Court, without noted dissents, on Friday refused to block the start next Tuesday of a war crimes trial of a young Canadian detainee at Guantanamo Bay — Omar Khadr. The brief order, noting that Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., had submitted the issue to the full Court, gave no explanation for the refusal. Because Justice-designate Elena Kagan has not yet taken the oath of office, she would not have taken part in Friday’s action. (She will become a Justice tomorrow afternoon.)

After the D.C. Circuit Court on Wednesday turned down all of Khadr’s pleas to delay the start of his trial before a military commission, his lawyers submitted a new application (10A155), seeking to postpone the trial for two weeks so that the counsel could prepare a petition for the Justices to review the Circuit Court’s orders. (Khadr’s counsel has dismissed an earlier plea to the Supreme Court to order the Circuit Court to act — docket 10-5691). Friday’s order does not bar his lawyers from filing a petition, but the trial will go forward despite his arguments that the commission system as changed by Congress last year is unconstitutional.