As a “specialized society separate from civilian society,” the military experiences not only many of the same challenges as the larger society as a result of COVID-19, but also other challenges arising in the contexts of their normal missions and times of crisis.
In light of the developments during the first half of 2020, Eugene Fidell’s article on COVID-19 and Military Law highlights some of the legal challenges that have arisen in the military world due to COVID-19. In doing so, he focuses on various perspectives, including the intersection between commanders’ responsibility for the health and safety of their personnel; systemic effects and adjustments to the internal administration of justice; and challenges presented to domestic law, legal institutions, and human rights following a shift to a domestic law enforcement mission. These perspectives have direct and indirect effects on unit cohesion, mission-readiness, mission-accomplishment, and public trust.
Eugene Fidell’s recently published book Military Justice: A Very Short Introduction fills an existing gap in academic military justice literature by providing readers with a condensed book focused solely on military justice. Fidell leverages his years of experience as both a practitioner and a scholar to bring us this “pint sized” book that covers topics ranging from the basics of military command to detention and military justice reform. Nevitt’s review of this “quick and easy military justice primer” makes it clear that readers from the newest law student to the most experience JAG could benefit from reading Fidell’s work.
Military Justice: A Very Short Introduction (Book Review)
Patrie conducts a careful and detailed examination of sexual assault in the military with a review of several recent high-profile cases. She proposes a framework to enforce judicial noninterference in sensitive military affairs while also ensuring that the military does not violate servicemembers’ constitutional rights.
Lawyers often represent clients in criminal cases when the odds are long or a catastrophe likely. The facts might be harmful, the evidence overwhelming, or the law clearly on the side of the prosecution. Still, we do the best we can. But what if the system is rigged? What if the system has the trappings of a fair fight but is, in fact, skewed to one side and, by design, the lawyer cannot fully defend the client? What if the lawyer can only lend legitimacy to a process that at its core is biased, slanted in favor of the other side, or fundamentally unfair? Indeed, what if the system is rigged so as to prevent the lawyer from zealously representing the client, or if it compromises the lawyer’s undivided loyalty to the client? Should lawyers refuse to participate in such systems, or should they – should we – still do the best we can?
In Grutter v. Bollinger, law student amici provided significant support for the University of Michigan’s use of race as a factor in law school admissions. Although Grutter did not specifically refer to any of the briefs submitted by law students, the Court’s reliance on diversity interests echoed the students’ emphasis on the educational benefits of a diverse classroom and the instrumental benefits of a diverse legal profession. On the whole, the Court’s analysis in Grutter broke relatively little new ground, since it closely followed Justice Powell’s endorsement of diversity as a compelling interest in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke twenty-five years earlier.