The Senate's Detainee Bill Makes Everyone Unhappy; This Must Be a Good Thing
The bill on first glance seems pretty reasonable, especially since the Senate will demand that the bill be linked to the McCain Amendment establishing uniform standards for the treatment of detainees. But it is likely to make all sides unhappy.
The Bush Administration is (wrongly, I think) opposing the McCain Amendment and is currently taking the position that the Guantanamo detainees have no constitutional rights cognizable in federal courts. The supporters of rights for Guantanamo detainees will hate the fact that this legislation confirms the constitutionality of trials by military commission. Moreover, while the compromise appears to confirm some federal court jurisdiction to review detainees appeals, it limits such review to the D.C. Circuit, which is likely to take a deferential view of such military commission trials and is less likely than the district courts of finding such trials constitutionally defective.
So everyone loses, at least a little bit. This probably means, however, that the compromise is a good one. We'll see.