Court Ruling May Cancel Bush’s ‘Blank Check’ for Terror War
Posted on Jun 29, 2006
Specifically, today’s Supreme Court ruling held that the president overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
But more important, Think Progress interprets the ruling to mean that “the Authorization for the Use of Military Force ? issued by Congress in the days after 9/11 ? is not a blank check for the administration.”
Also, SCOTUSblog says the ruling means that the Geneva Convention does apply to the conflict with Al Qaeda, and consequently “this almost certainly means that the CIA’s interrogation tactics of waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act.”
The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees.
The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions.
The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a bodyguard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison in Cuba. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.
As I predicted below, the Court held that Congress had, by statute, required that the commissions comply with the laws of war—and held further that these commissions do not (for various reasons).
More importantly, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today’s ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons “shall in all circumstances be treated humanely…