The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled Thursday that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a right to trial in civilian courts. As Justice Anthony Kennedy of the majority wrote, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.” It has been widely speculated that such a ruling would ultimately force the closure of the detention facility.
President Bush’s slow and painful schooling in constitutional law continued today as the Supreme Court ruled for the third time in four years that he had violated a basic precept of the American legal system.
The court ruled 5-4 that Bush cannot deny prisoners at Guantanamo Bay the right to challenge their detentions in federal district court. Some of them have been held already—without charges—for more than six years.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, determined that the prisoners in the U.S.-run facility “have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. ... ”