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Supreme Court Rules Against Bush, For Gitmo Detainees


In a historic ruling, the US Supreme Court ruled that terror suspects being held at Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba have a right to contest their detention in United States court, using the constitutionally enshrined principle of habeas corpus — which allows courts to determine whether a prisoner is being held illegally.

In the 5-4 ruling, the majority held that "the laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

The four "conservative" justices dissented. Justice Scalia wrote: "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."

To find out what the Bush Administration argued, read more.

The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the 2006 Military Commission Act set up a parallel tribunal for detainees. It denied them habeas corpus and the right to a defense lawyer, rights of all defendants in military and civilian courts.

The Bush Administration unsuccessfully argued first that the detainees have no rights. It also argued that the classification and review process for enemy combatants was sufficient. It is unclear how the specific legal repercussions will play out; but, the court has made clear that these prisoners can no longer be trapped in legal limbo. If you were a Supreme Court justice, would you have voted with the majority or the minority?

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