Prosecuting Alleged Terrorists: Article III Courts, Military Tribunals, and Constitutional Checks and Balances

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis


Political Science

First Advisor

Sandy McKeown

Second Advisor

Dr. Shane Nordyke

Third Advisor

Dr. Scott Breuninger


terrorism, Article III Courts, military tribunals, checks, balances, constitution

Subject Categories

Constitutional Law | Military, War, and Peace | Political Science


This thesis concerns the executive military tribunals implemented after the tragic attack on September 11, 2001. It gives a brief overview of separation of powers and constitutional checks and balances. It next examines how military tribunals have been used in the past during wartime, but how the circumstances of the current tribunals are different. It will briefly discuss the differences between judiciary Article III courts and executive military tribunals. It discusses the lack of judicial review in the tribunals. Finally, it examines the way the lack of judicial review and Supreme Court decisions relates to constitutional checks and balances between the judicial and executive branches. The tribunals are organized in such a way that they are not subject to judicial review, which upsets the system of checks and balances between the judicial and executive branches.

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