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U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Guatanamo Bay detainees

Finally, some good news. The U.S. Supreme Court defends the right of habeas corpus for Guatanamo Bay detainees.

From an Australian media outlet: The Age

Guantanamo prisoners free to fight detention
June 13, 2008 – 8:01AM

The US Supreme Court today ruled detainees at the US military’s Guantanamo Bay base have the right to appeal to federal courts in a fresh blow to the Bush administration.

The court ruled that detainees in the US jail in southern Cuba “have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus,” in the third ruling on Guantanamo against the current administration of President George W. Bush.

By a vote of five to four, the court found that, even if the base was officially on Cuban territory, it was in fact operating as if it were on American soil and therefore the detainees have the same constitutional rights as all people living in the United States.

“We’ll abide by the court’s decision. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with it,” said Mr Bush, who was in Rome as part of a week-long European visit. “We’ll study this opinion and we’ll do so … to determine whether or not additional legislation might be appropriate.”… rest of story here.

Also, some commentary on the decision and the next presidential election at the BBC. (Think they forgot about 3rd parties. Though, some of the other stuff is on target, though cynical.)

From the BBC

Guantanamo ruling – the fallout

By Kevin Connolly
BBC News, Washington

The long-running and so-far inconclusive battle between the Supreme Court and the Bush administration over Guantanamo Bay has been like a High School political science class brought to life.

A power struggle between two branches of government has been playing out over one of the defining issues of this presidential term.

Over the course of the last few years, the executive has had the upper hand over the judiciary…

But with this latest ruling, the Supreme Court appears to have restored its authority in these matters by producing a ruling which will be much more difficult for the administration to ignore…

The nine justices of the Supreme Court split five-four on the issue with one of the dissenting conservative judges warning that the decision could make the war on terror more dangerous.

But Anthony Kennedy spoke for the majority of the justices when he argued that the US Constitution and its laws are designed to function even in extraordinary times.

The political impact of today’s Supreme Court ruling may not be quite so extensive, however…

…the timing of the announcement really serves to draw attention to just how close we know find ourselves to the end of the George W Bush era.

At a moment like this, our attention focuses automatically on the known attitudes of the two men competing to be the next president.

As it happens, both John McCain and Barack Obama (the Republican and Democrat respectively) have talked about closing Guantanamo Bay, so much of the political and legal heat may simply evaporate from the issue a few months down the road…

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2008/06/12 22:23:58 GMT


One Response

  1. This is a great day for American constitutionalism. It is shocking, however, that four-ninths of the United States Supreme Court find compelling justification to imprison innocent men (i.e., those who might be exonerated at trial) for life without a constitutionally recognized judicial hearing.

    My take on this case is posted here.

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