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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday from Guantanamo detainees who want challenge their five-year-long confinement in court, a victory for the Bush administration’s legal strategy in its fight against terrorism.
The victory may be only temporary, however. The high court twice previously has extended legal protections to prisoners at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. These individuals were seized as potential terrorists following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and only 10 have been charged with a crime.
Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSBlog explains the ruling:
Three Justices dissented, and two others wrote separately about the denial. Had all five of those Justices voted for review, of course, tthe cases would have been granted.
The two who filed a separate “statement,” Justices John Paul Stevens and Anthony M. Kennedy, said that the Court had passed up review to avoid deciding constitutional issues before the detainees had used their available remedies under federal law. They warned, however, that if the government later is found to have engaged in “unreasonable” delay of those remedies, or caused “some other and ongoing injury,” then “alternative means exist for us to consider our jurisdiction” over the detainees’ allegations. They added that the Court’s denial of review does not amount to an expression of “any opinion” on the merits of the detainee claims.
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, joined by Justices David H. Souter and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, dissented from the denial. Breyer and Souter also said they would not only grant review, but expedite it.
The ruling is considered a victory for the administration, obviously, but in another ruling today, the admin wasn’t so lucky: EPA must consider global warming again.