Justice John Paul Stevens, appointed to the Supreme Court by Republican President Gerald Ford, ruled last week that foreign terrorists captured in Afghanistan and held at the U.S. military base in Guantanamo, Cuba, have a right to sue in federal courts to win their freedom.
The Court split 6-3 on the case, along the predictable lines. Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, David Souter and Anthony Kennedy joined Stevens in the majority. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia dissented. “For this court to create such a monstrous scheme in time of war . . . is judicial adventurism of the worst sort,” wrote Scalia. If it has the gumption, the Republican Congress can overturn the Court’s decision–and keep al Qaeda terrorists locked up at Guantanamo–by sending President Bush a bill this month that rewrites federal habeas corpus laws, or explicitly removes Guantanamo from the jurisdiction of any federal court.