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Supreme Court Holds Enemy Detainees Can Petition Civilian Courts for Release


Terrorist suspects detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have the right to petition US civilian courts to release them, the Supreme Court held in the Boumediene v. Bush opinion released earlier this morning. 

In a 5-4 decision that could derail the trials of admitted terrorists including 9-11 planner Khalid Sheik Muhammad, the high court ruled unconstitutional part of the 2006 Military Commissions Act which barred terrorist prisoners from asserting the right to habeas corpus writs in US courts.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in which Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Souter and Stevens concurred.  Chief Justice Roberts, along with Justices Scalia, Alito and Thomas dissented.

In the summary of the opinion released by the court says directly that, “Petitioners have the Constitutional privilege of habeas corpus.  They are not barred from seeking the writ or invoking the Suspension Clause’s protections because they have been designated as enemy combatants or because of their presence at Guantanamo.’

This ruling may result in the release of some Guantanamo inmates and the transfer of others’ trials into the civilian criminal justice system. 

The ruling is a significant milestone which proves two things:  first, US law is still not adapted to the realities and necessities of the war the terrorists and the nations that support them are waging against us; and second, that the necessity of appointing more conservatives to the high court is as important now as it has ever been in the history of our nation.

*Here is Justice Scalia’s Scathing Dissent in Boumediene v Bush