Big, big news.
The Supreme Court restored habeas rights for enemy combatants, and thereby acknowledged that the “War on Terrorism” has no discernible end and so detainees should be able to challenge indefinite detention.
In its third rebuke of the Bush administration’s treatment of prisoners, the court ruled 5-4 that the government is violating the rights of prisoners being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The court’s liberal justices were in the majority.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
Kennedy said federal judges could ultimately order some detainees to be released, but that such orders would depend on security concerns and other circumstances.
The dissenters put it this way…
Chief Justice John Roberts criticized his colleagues 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, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas also dissented. Scalia said 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.”
First off, Scalia’s prediction may ultimately prove to be true, but it’s certainly not supported by recent history. Remember, terrorist acts and terrorism is on the rise in our post 9/11 world. Because during that time we’ve been kidnapping people from all over the world and detaining them indefinitely. One could easily argue that our willingness to do things that seem to directly contradict our claims of being a free society make it easier for terrorist organizations to raise money, recruit and carry out their plans.
Second, concerning Roberts’ statement, it doesn’t matter if the procedural protections are greater when we get the exact same result every time: indefinite detention without access to legal counsel.
Obviously I’m happy about the decision because it’s an incredibly important step to regaining our credibility.
More as it develops…