Supreme Court Review of Decisions of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces Under Writs of Certiorari [February 27, 2006]   [open pdf - 163KB]

"The proposed Equal Justice for Our Military Act, H.R.1364, would broaden the circumstances under which members of the Armed Services convicted by courts-martial are eligible to apply for a writ of certiorari to have their cases reviewed by the Supreme Court. This memo briefly summarizes the appellate procedures applicable to military courts-martial, including petitions for certiorari to the Supreme Court, and analyzes how this framework would be altered if H.R.1364 were to become law. The Military Justice Act of 1983 established jurisdiction for the first time in the Supreme Court to hear cases from military tribunals in direct review under a writ of certiorari. Prior to that Act, neither the accused nor the government could ask the Court to review an adverse decision of the highest military court, although the accused could seek Supreme Court review through a writ of habeas corpus. The legislative history shows the change was motivated in part by a concern about the lack of the government's ability to appeal decisions of the civilian appellate court for the military services, then known as the Court of Military Appeals, even on matters of constitutional law, effectively making that court the final arbiter of such questions. Congress limited the availability of Supreme Court review to cases that had been heard by the Court of Military Appeals in order to maintain that court's role as the principle interpreter of military law and to avoid an undue increase in the Supreme Court's workload."

Report Number:
CRS Memorandum, February 27, 2006
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Judge Advocates Association: http://www.jaa.org/
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