Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Guantanamo Detainee Cases

This could potentially be a very significant legal development:

The Supreme Court said today that it would review the rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees to challenge their confinements in federal court, reversing a decision in April not to take up that issue.


The court will hear two cases that challenge the Bush administration’s position that the fates of hundreds of detainees held at the U.S. naval base in Cuba as alleged terrorists is best handled by military tribunals rather than the U.S. courts.

Last February, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld a key provision of the Military Commissions Act, approved by Congress last year, that took away federal court jurisdiction to hear challenges from the detainees about their confinement. That is the decision the court earlier decided not to hear, but revived today.

The court consolidated two cases, Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. U.S., and will hear them together sometime after its new term begins next October. In addition, the court said it would consult the findings of the D.C. circuit appeals court in two other pending cases in which detainees challenge the judgment of the military tribunals that determined them to be enemy combatants.

What makes this significant is the fact that the Bush Administration has not fared well when the Court has reviewed its detainee policies in the past:

The court has considered the rights of detainees twice in the last three years, ruling both times against the administration.

And the decision will be released right in the middle of a Presidential campaign.

  • tkc

    Two quick questions:
    1) are we fighting a war or prosecuting criminals?
    2) can congress suspend habeas corpus?