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Hamdan: The Court's Big Decision Today

Earlier today, the Supreme Court announced its long-awaited decision in U.S. v. Hamdan, which addressed the legality of the Bush admistration's policy of ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees. As summarized by the SCOTUS Blog, in a 5-3 the Court held that President Bush did not have authority to set up the tribunals at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and found the commissions illegal under both military justice law and the Geneva conventions. But several of the justices suggested that Bush could return to Congress to seek the authorization that the Court found lacking. Other notable tidbits from the case:  Justice Thomas, who dissented, read his opinion from the bench, the first time he's done so in 15 years on the court.  And Justice Roberts recused himself; it was his D.C. Circuit ruling in Hamdan that the Supreme Court reversed.

Reviews and summaries of the decision are coming in all over the online media and blogosphere. Summaries of the ruling can be found here (Gina Holland, Associated Press) and here (John O'Neil and Scott Shane at New York Times). Blogger Orin Kerr remarks preliminarily that Justice Kennedy's concurrence reflects a belief that "Congress'  views are supreme," and Peter Lattman at WSJ Law Blog profiles Neal Kaytal, the Georgetown Law professor whose argument for Hamdan was his maiden voyage at the Supreme Court. SCOTUS blog features guest commentary from Richard Samp of the Washington Legal Foundation, who begins  his post with his opinion that "I’d be surprised if any of the holdings in today’s Hamdan decision end up having large practical significance." And also at SCOTUS is this post from Lyle Deniston, who writes that Hamdan is notable for what it did not decide, including the question of whether or not there actually exists a "presidential 'inherent power' of the kind that President Bush claims under his commander-in-chief powers."

The Hamdan discussion continues in the blogosphere. For more related posts, just visit this Technorati link.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on June 29, 2006 at 07:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)


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