Report: The Military Commissions Act of 2006

The Military Commissions Act was prompted, in part, by the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2006 ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld which rejected the President’s creation of military commissions by executive fiat and held unequivocally that the protections of Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies in the context of the conflict with Al Qaeda.

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According to Administration statements, the Act was also prompted by concerns among CIA interrogators that the Detainee Treatment Act's prohibition of torture and coercive interrogations implied potential liability for the perpetrators and disbanding of the program of interrogation in secret CIA prisons. The MCA was passed in the House by a vote of 250 to 70. The law was passed in the Senate by a vote of 65 to 34. Five proposed amendments failed in the Senate by a narrow margin. Senator Specter (R-PA) proposed an amendment which would have removed the MCA’s jurisdictionstripping provision. This amendment failed by a vote of 51-48. The MCA was signed into law by President Bush on October 17, 2006.


Last modified 

January 11, 2010