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Historic Ruling in Guantanamo Case

Tony Mauro at The BLT describes the drama this morning at the Supreme Court as it handed down its historic opinion in the Guantanamo detainee case, Boumediene v. Bush:

When Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. said from the bench this morning that Justice Anthony Kennedy had a decision to announce -- and for several minutes thereafter -- it was unclear which way the Supreme Court would go. ... But when Kennedy, after describing the facts and legal issues paused, leaned forward and started talking about basic principles, it was clear: he had provided the fifth vote to declare that Guantanamo detainees have habeas corpus rights that were violated when Congress stripped courts of habeas jurisdiction in the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

The 5-4 ruling was, as Lyle Denniston wrote at SCOTUSblog, "a stunning blow to the Bush Administration." American Bar Association president William Neukom said the decision "reaffirms the vision of our founders, and helps restore the credibility of the United States as a leading advocate and model for the rule of law across the globe." Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the American Way, described it as a rebuke of "President Bush's vision of the presidency as an office of limitless power." And here is what the court, itself, had to say, in the words of Justine Kennedy's majority opinion:

We hold that petitioners may invoke the fundamental procedural protections of habeas corpus. The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times. Liberty and security can be reconciled; and in our system they are reconciled within the framework of the law. The Framers decided that habeas corpus, a right of first importance, must be a part of that framework, a part of that law.

Mauro at The BLT writes that the U.S. District Court in Washington, which now has habeas jurisdiction over the detainees as a result of today's ruling, is already responding to the decision. As many as 200 detainees have filed habeas petitions, and many were being held pending the outcome of Boumediene.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on June 12, 2008 at 01:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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