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Court says detainees have rights, bucking Bush

Discussion in 'Political Zone' started by BrAinPaiNt, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer
    30 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON - In a stinging rebuke to President Bush's anti-terror policies, a deeply divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign detainees held for years at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba have the right to appeal to U.S. civilian courts to challenge their indefinite imprisonment without charges.

    Bush said he strongly disagreed with the decision — the third time the court has repudiated him on the detainees — and suggested he might seek yet another law to keep terror suspects locked up at the prison camp, even as his presidency winds down.

    Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the 5-4 high court majority, acknowledged the terrorism threat the U.S. faces — the administration's justification for the detentions — but he declared, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

    In a blistering dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the decision "will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed."

    Bush has argued the detentions are needed to protect the nation in a time of unprecedented threats from al-Qaida and other foreign terrorist groups. The president, in Rome, said Thursday, "It was a deeply divided court, and I strongly agree with those who dissented." He said he would consider whether to seek new laws in light of the ruling "so we can safely say to the American people, 'We're doing everything we can to protect you.'"

    Kennedy said federal judges could ultimately order some detainees to be released, but he also said such orders would depend on security concerns and other circumstances. The ruling itself won't result in any immediate releases.

    The decision also cast doubt on the future of the military war crimes trials that 19 detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other alleged Sept. 11 plotters, are facing so far. The Pentagon has said it plans to try as many as 80 men held at Guantanamo.

    Lawyers for detainees differed over whether the ruling, unlike the first two, would lead to prompt hearings for those who have not been charged. Roughly 270 men remain at the prison at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. Most are classed as enemy combatants and held on suspicion of terrorism or links to al-Qaida and the Taliban.

    Some detainee lawyers said hearings could take place within a few months. But James Cohen, a Fordham University law professor who has two clients at Guantanamo, predicted Bush would continue seeking ways to resist the ruling. "Nothing is going to happen between June 12 and Jan. 20," when the next president takes office, Cohen said.

    Roughly 200 detainees have lawsuits on hold in federal court in Washington. Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth said he would call a special meeting of federal judges to address how to handle the cases.

    Detainees already facing trial are in a different category.

    Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said Thursday's decision should not affect war crimes trials. "Military commission trials will therefore continue to go forward," Carr said.

    The lawyer for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden's one-time driver, said he will seek dismissal of the charges against Hamdan based on the new ruling. A military judge had already delayed the trial's start to await the high court ruling.

    It was unclear whether a hearing at Guantanamo for Canadian Omar Khadr, charged with killing a U.S. Special Forces soldier in Afghanistan, would go forward next week as planned.

    Charles Swift, the former Navy lawyer who used to represent Hamdan, said he believes the court removed any legal basis for keeping the Guantanamo facility open and that the military tribunals are "doomed."

    Guantanamo generally and the tribunals were conceived on the idea that "constitutional protections wouldn't apply," Swift said. "The court said the Constitution applies. They're in big trouble."

    Human rights groups and many Democratic members of Congress celebrated the ruling as affirming the nation's commitment to the rule of law. Several Republican lawmakers called it a decision that put foreign terrorists' rights above the safety of the American people.

    The administration opened the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to hold enemy combatants, people suspected of ties to al-Qaida or the Taliban.

    The prison has been harshly criticized at home and abroad for the detentions themselves and the aggressive interrogations that were conducted there.

    At its heart, the 70-page ruling says that the detainees have the same rights as anyone else in custody in the United States to contest their detention before a judge. Kennedy also said the system the administration has put in place to classify detainees as enemy combatants and review those decisions is not an adequate substitute for the right to go before a civilian judge.

    The administration had argued first that the detainees have no rights. But it also contended that the classification and review process was sufficient.

    Chief Justice John Roberts, in his own dissent to Thursday's ruling, criticized the majority for striking down what he called "the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants."

    Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas also dissented.

    Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens — the court's more liberal members — joined Kennedy to form the majority.

    Souter wrote a separate opinion in which he emphasized the length of the detentions.

    "A second fact insufficiently appreciated by the dissents is the length of the disputed imprisonments; some of the prisoners represented here today having been locked up for six years," Souter said. "Hence the hollow ring when the dissenters suggest that the court is somehow precipitating the judiciary into reviewing claims that the military ... could handle within some reasonable period of time."

    Scalia, citing a report by Senate Republicans, said at least 30 prisoners have returned to the battlefield following their release from Guantanamo.

    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.

    The court specifically struck down a provision of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 that denies Guantanamo detainees the right to file petitions of habeas corpus. Habeas corpus is a centuries-old legal principle, enshrined in the Constitution, that allows courts to determine whether a prisoner is being held illegally.

    The head of the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents dozens of prisoners at Guantanamo, welcomed the ruling.

    "The Supreme Court has finally brought an end to one of our nation's most egregious injustices," said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. "By granting the writ of habeas corpus, the Supreme Court recognizes a rule of law established hundreds of years ago and essential to American jurisprudence since our nation's founding."

    Bush has said he wants to close the facility once countries can be found to take the prisoners who are there.

    Presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama also support shutting down the prison
  2. ConcordCowboy

    ConcordCowboy Mr. Buckeye

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    Bush and Cheney got to be pissed about this.

    I'm a little surprised by this ruling.
  3. Bach

    Bach Benched

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    Liberals are idiots. Might as well release them all and hand them the keys to the country.
  4. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    It was the supreme court dude. It was a 5-4 vote.

    This is not the first time the SCOTUS found bush's findings wrong.

    To me there is one simple solution to this.

    Let these guys go to trial, find them guilty and be done with it.

    I doubt you would find but maybe 2% (if that many) who would win a trial.

    Give them their trial and be done with it.
  5. Bach

    Bach Benched

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    I know its the SCOTUS. And I know there are several extemist liberals on that court.

    And there's more to it than just taking them to trial. They would have the right to access classified information which would then be made public at trial.

    This is a wartime situation that should be dealt with by the military, not by civilian US courts.
  6. big dog cowboy

    big dog cowboy THE BIG DOG Staff Member

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    They should have had their military trail already and been found guilty.

    Why this issue is ongoing makes no sense to me. All it does is increase the anger in those who already hate us.
  7. BrAinPaiNt

    BrAinPaiNt Backwoods Sexy Staff Member

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    Good lord...again...ooh those dirty liberals on the court. Please.

    Furthermore what such classified information would get out that would put us all at such great risk...that is nothing but a cop out.

    Just like bush refusing to admit they waterboard because he says he does not want the enemy to know the techniques we use doing it...flat out BS because it has been done by other countries for YEARS and I am pretty sure that the enemy knows exactly what is done.

    Give them their stinking trials, find them guilty and be done with it.

    good grief.
  8. peplaw06

    peplaw06 That Guy

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    Anyone have a link to this opinion, or has it been published yet?
  9. Heisenberg

    Heisenberg That gum you like. Zone Supporter

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    To me, it comes down to being the bigger man. You do what's right no matter how much you hate it. What's right is to follow the Constitution. It's just proof that we're better than our hatred.
  10. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    So noble words. As was pointed out, more then 30 of those that were released have been found on the battlefield again. So how many US soldiers or civilians need to die to justify letting these guys go? As was noted in the dissent, this will almost certainly cause the death of more soldiers if these guys are let go.

    The liberals want these pieces of trash treated like US citizens.

    Imagine a Johnny COchran wannabe in federal court. The libs seem not to care.
  11. peplaw06

    peplaw06 That Guy

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    I agree. If I were in another country and arrested on some criminal charges, I would expect to be treated according to the laws of that country.

    Now what I expect might be far off from reality, because no telling what you're gonna get in another country. But if they refused to treat me according to their laws, then whose laws are they supposed to go by?

    Kind of suprising for me, because I usually align myself with the Roberts/Scalia/Thomas/Alito camp.
  12. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    These POS are not US citizens. Only US citizens or those here by legal immigration or as guests deserve the protection of our Constituition.

    These guys were rounded up as part of the terror investigations. Now I do not have a problem with them having a hearing before a federal judge in a closed court to see if there is sufficient evidence= as long as the court is closed and every care is taken to see to it that sensitive intelligence and above all else WITNESSES are protected. BUT that is not what the ACLU and the LIbs want. ANd that is not what is being pushed by the libs. They want open federal courts with all the Johnny Cochran fun AND GAMES allowed.
    And I am afraid that this is what is coming.
  13. peplaw06

    peplaw06 That Guy

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    So if an illegal immigrant commits a crime here and is held here, you don't think he should be afforded the rights set up in our criminal justice system? What laws should he be governed by? How would the justice system resolve those charges?

    By "fun and games," do you mean they deserve defense attorneys?

    Of course they do.

    And you really need to go do some research on Johnny Cochran. He was a very admirable man.
  14. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    Why am I not surprised the lawyer defends cochran. You are so proud he got a murderer off.
    I imagine if somehow Ben Laden got off you would be happy too.
  15. ChldsPlay

    ChldsPlay Well-Known Member

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    These are not just people who came to the US and committed some crimes. If they were, this wouldn't be a big deal. These are enemy combatants.

    This would be like in WW2 if we took every German we captured and gave them trials here in the U.S. with all the rules of a civilian court.

    This is insanity at it's worst.
  16. peplaw06

    peplaw06 That Guy

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    You don't know the first thing about him, your uneducated opinion on him means nothing.

    I'm not proud he got a "murderer" off. He's admirable because of what he did his entire life.

    And nice try at the inflammatory bin ladin remark. I imagine you'd be happy if every non-American in the world were eradicated.

    See I can do it too.
  17. peplaw06

    peplaw06 That Guy

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    The Germans did have trials of some kind did they not? I don't recall hearing about them being held without charges indefinitely.

    They weren't held in the US, so they didn't receive rights under the Constitution.
  18. hairic

    hairic Well-Known Member

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    I read about 30 pages, it's pretty boring. :p:
  19. SuspectCorner

    SuspectCorner Bromo

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    Denial of habeas corpus, evidence obtained by torture, the Bush-CIA Rendition Program, indefinite detention... seven-plus years under Bush (fully facilitated by an inept and impotent Congress) seem to have caused some people to become as contemptous of the rule of law as Dubya and his henchmen themselves.

    Thank you Supreme Court... and Scalia - you suck.
  20. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    One vote going the other way and its all different. So to you suspect and to you Pep whoopeeee.

    I know a lot about Johnny Cochran.

    Enough that the OJ case was far from the first he pulled tricks like that.

    You Pep seem to think that what is legal and what is JUST means the same thing. Sad that you think so.

    And Suspect guess what: this is war and if you think that we can win by following the rules you want then you are truly out to lunch.

    In Total war= and that is what this is= there are only the winners and the dead. If you want to die fine with me.

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