- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009

Rep. Louie B. Gohmert, Texas Republican, has proposed a bill that would require terrorist defendants to be tried before a military commission, not in a civilian court.

“Every single federal court owes its existence to Congress, except the Supreme Court,” Mr. Gohmert said Monday on The Washington Times’ “America’s Morning News” radio show.

Mr. Gohmert — a former judge and ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security — introduced the bill Thursday and said at least 40 other House members have signed on as cosponsors. However, the bill will likely fail in the Democrat-controlled Congress.

“It is Congress, not the president or Supreme Court, that is given complete authority to establish all courts and their jurisdictions that are inferior to the Supreme Court,” he said last week. “The legislation I am offering is completely constitutional.”

The amendment was filed six days after Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced Khalid Sheikh Mohammed —self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks — and four alleged co-conspirators will be tried in a Manhattan federal court.

Since then, Mr. Gohmert has publicly attacked the Obama administration plan, which includes bringing the suspects from the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba to the U.S. to face trial.

“You’ve got subways, tunnels, bridges all subject to terrorism,” he said on the Fox News Channel. “And unless they’re trying to create a new-jobs bill by allowing terrorism back in New York, then this is insane. And even that would be insane.”

The legislation would amend the Military Commissions Act, so that defendants would be tried only before military commissions, not civilian courts “with the potential protections and rights of an American citizen.”

Mr. Gohmert pointed out Congress this year amended the 2006 act so that suspected terrorists are now called “alien underprivileged enemy belligerents, “not “enemy combatants.”

“My bill is very, very short,” he said.

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