Thursday, June 12, 2008

Supreme Court Gives Gitmo Detainees Habeas Corpus Rights

A centerpiece of the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism policy was struck down by the Supreme Court today when the Justices voted, 5-4, that foreign nationals at Guantanamo Bay do have the right to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. From SCOTUSblog:
In a stunning blow to the Bush Administration in its war-on-terrorism policies, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign nationals held at Guantanamo Bay have a right to pursue habeas challenges to their detention. The Court, dividing 5-4, ruled that Congress had not validly taken away habeas rights. If Congress wishes to suspend habeas, it must do so only as the Constitution allows — when the country faces rebellion or invasion.

The Court stressed that it was not ruling that the detainees are entitled to be released — that is, entitled to have writs issued to end their confinement. That issue, it said, is left to the District Court judges who will be hearing the challenges. The Court also said that “we do not address whether the President has authority to detain” individuals during the war on terrorism, and hold them at the U.S. Naval base in Cuba; that, too, it said, is to be considered first by the District judges.
It's worth noting that among the four dissenters were Bush appointees Roberts and Alito. (The other two were Scalia and Thomas - no surprises there.)

SCOTUSblog via Above the Law

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