Friday, June 29, 2007

High Court to Hear Terror Detainee Case

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 justices did not say what had changed their minds. The Bush administration had praised the court's earlier decision not to review the matter.

At the time, only three of four justices necessary to grant review--David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer--were willing to take the two cases involved, saying "these questions deserve this court's immediate attention.'' Two other justices, John Paul Stevens and Anthony M. Kennedy, issued a statement saying they might want to hear the issue in the future.

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.

The court has considered the rights of detainees twice in the last three years, ruling both times against the administration.
This is good news from a Court that has recently turned far to the right with the addition of Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.

The United States has always stood for freedom and equal justice under the law. How can we just hold people without charge for as long as we want? This sounds more like the tactics of a dictatorship than a democracy. Military tribunals without public oversight is not the image we want to present to the world. If the people being held are terrorists, prove it in a court of law. The first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 resulted in the arrest and convictions of those involved. If we do not return to our democratic roots than the terrorists have won by changing the very definition of what it means to be American. Free and open trials are the backbone of our democracy and if the detainees are truly terrorists then provide the evidence in open court.

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