WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in creating military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies.
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the opinion, which said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and the Geneva Convention.
The case, one of the most significant involving presidential war powers cases since World War II, was brought by Guantanamo prisoner Salim Ahmed Hamdan, who was a driver for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan.
The vote was split 5-3, with moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joining the court’s liberal members in ruling against the Bush administration. Chief Justice John Roberts, named to the court last September by Bush, was sidelined in the case because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government over Hamdan.
Thursday’s ruling overturned that decision.
Andy McCarthy got it right, unfortunately.
Al Qaeda terrorists now have ‘protections’ via the Geneva Conventions thanks to the US Supreme Court.
PM Update I: Here’s video of President Bush’s response to the ruling.
PM Update III: Mark Levin’s comments on today’s ruling:
Congress and the Court are systematically stripping the presidency of war-making powers. Congress demands that the president get court approval beforeing intercepting enemy communications (we call that intelligence gathering) and the Court demands that the president get statutory support from Congress before he can use military tribunals to try terrorists.
And yet, neither Congress nor the Supreme Court have any explicit constitutional authority to make these decisions. Congress can cut-off funding for the war or any aspect of it, which it has not; and the judiciary’s only role in these matters is to defer to the president, who has explicit and broad authority under the Constitution as the commander-in-chief.
Today, the Court has taken a giant new step in its usurpation of explicit presidential authority. The battle against terrorism is being fought as much in our courtrooms as on the field in Iraq and other places — where the likes of the ACLU and activist judges will set policy in contravention of the Constitution.
Congress and the courts are conferring rights and privileges on terrorists. They are conferring constitutonal protections on the enemy. They are granting the enemy jurisdiction in our civiliam courts. They are extending the Geneva Conventions to an enemy that is specifically excluded from those protections.
Read the whole thing.