The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Matthew Allee,(202) 580-6922 or,

Constitution Project Urges Obama Administration To Stick With Federal Court Prosecutions of 9/11 Conspirators


The Constitution Project urges the Obama
administration to maintain its commitment to trying Khalid Sheik
Mohammed and four others in federal court and to reject any proposed
deal to shift their trials to military commissions. Reversing Attorney
General Eric Holder's decision in November to prosecute the 9/11
conspirators in federal court would be a major retreat on the
administration's pledge to restore the rule of law.

Since the Justice Department's November
announcement, the location of the trials has come under political fire,
but the administration has rightly repeated its commitment to using our
federal court system to prosecute the suspected terrorists. The
Constitution Project calls on the administration to remain steadfast in
its commitment to and faith in our federal courts.
The following can be attributed to Virginia Sloan, president of the Constitution Project:
"A reversal of the administration's decision
would betray the president's commitment during the campaign to restore
the rule of law - a commitment he has repeated since taking office.
Abandoning the federal court prosecution of the 9/11 conspirators would
also undercut the independence of the Justice Department and send a
damaging signal to Americans and our international allies that the
administration lacks confidence in our justice system.
"Our federal courts have been far more effective
is prosecuting suspected terrorists, with nearly 200 convictions since
9/11, and in a manner that is accepted by our highest court and also by
our domestic and international allies in the fight against terrorism.
With only three convictions in nearly a decade and endless appeals, the
military commissions have been proven far less effective than
traditional federal courts in trying terrorism cases."
The Constitution Project, along with Human Rights First, organized Beyond Guantanamo: A Bipartisan Declaration
calling on the Obama administration and Congress to support a policy
for closing Guantanamo that is consistent with our constitutional
principles and also ensures our country's security. Joined by nearly
140 prominent Americans, including former members of Congress,
diplomats, federal judges and prosecutors, high-level military and
government officials, as well as national security and foreign policy
experts, bar leaders, and family members of 9/11 victims, the Declaration
supports prosecution of terrorism suspects in traditional federal
court, rather than by military commission, and opposes indefinite
detention without charge.
To view a copy of the Declaration and signatories, go to:

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at