Thursday, June 12, 2008

US Supreme Court: Gitmo Prisoners Have Habeus Corpus Rights

This is a major victory for the prisoners and yet another slap in the face from the court to the Bush administration.

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."
It was not immediately clear whether this ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for the detainees, some of whom have been held more than 6 years. Roughly 270 men remain at the island prison, classified as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

The ruling could resurrect many detainee lawsuits that federal judges put on hold pending the outcome of the high court case. The decision sent judges, law clerks and court administrators scrambling to read Kennedy's 70-page opinion and figure out how to proceed. Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth said he would call a special meeting of federal judges to address how to handle the cases.

And here's Scalia's version of judicial "wisdom":

Scalia said the nation is "at war with radical Islamists" and that the court's decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

Shorter Scalia: FEAR blah blah blah FEAR blah blah blah.

And the article also reminds us of how the Republicans have subverted the constitution every chance they got:

The court has ruled twice previously that people held at Guantanamo without charges can go into civilian courts to ask that the government justify their continued detention. Each time, the administration and Congress, then controlled by Republicans, changed the law to try to close the courthouse doors to the detainees.

They won't get away with that this time around.

The disposition of Omar Khadr's trial will likely be affected by this decision as well and the fact that we've now learned that notes about his detention were destroyed and that the judge handling his case was most likely dismissed because he ruled against US government lawyers should be more than enough for our Conservative government to stop stonewalling on bringing him home. It should be but since they don't even care that he was a child soldier when he was picked up - the first to be charged with war crimes - I'm sure we'll just keep getting the same "let the legal process play out" talking point in response to these developments. Like it was ever a legitimate legal process to begin with.

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