Service Members To Get Equal Legal Rights

The Senate is getting closer to passing legislation which would grant members of the armed forces the right to appeal convictions to the US Supreme Court. Current law allows such appeals only in cases of death penalty. All other appeals can only go as far as the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Under the present judicial system, military prosecutors can petition the Supreme Court on an adverse decision by the defendant lacks similar rights. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has pushed the legislation, commented: “Unlike American civilians, members of the American armed forces are denied the basic right to petition the U.S. Supreme Court after losing at the appellate court level. This is simply wrong.”

It is interesting that since Democrats assumed control of Congress, numerous bills have been passed to defend the rights of members of the armed forces. The G.I. Bill of Rights for education, and numerous laws to expand medical services to veterans have been passed. Perhaps, Senator McCain can cite a single example in which he actually initiated such legislation for military personnel or veterans. He did oppose the G.I. Bill on grounds it would hamper recruitment of soldiers.