To be sure, but they do at least seem to be reaching the right conlusion in the end.
In its third rebuke of the Administration\’s treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, the court ruled that the 270 foreign suspects have the right under the US Constitution to challenge their detention in civilian courts on the American mainland.
The 5-4 ruling did not order the military tribunal process to be halted but by giving the detainees – many held without charge for more than six years – the right to be heard by a federal judge, it could trigger a rush to civilian courts that, in practical terms, will leave the question of what to do with men such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of 9/11, in the hands of the next president.
Barack Obama, the Democratic nominee, has pledged to close down the facility and opposes the military tribunals. John McCain, his Republican opponent, also wants Guantanamo Bay closed.
Unlike Mr Obama, the Arizona senator supported a law rushed through Congress in 2006 by Mr Bush to resurrect the military tribunal system after the Supreme Court last ruled it unconstitutional.
That law, the Military Commissions Act, was passed when Republicans controlled the House and Senate and was the legislation declared unconstitutional yesterday because it denied the detainees the right of habeas corpus – the ability to ask a court if one is being held illegally.
This is exactly the same argument that David Davis is on the correct side of (and much to my anger, Bob Spink isn\’t).
It\’s the whole point of a system of civil liberties (and what, if one is to have a constitution, it should lay out): it isn\’t a description of what government may do for us, it\’s a detailing of what government and The State may not do to us.
Yes, yes, I know, in previous times most of these detainees would have been shot on the battlefield, yes, I\’m aware of the arguments about being at war, about the thought that these constitutional protections belong only to US citizens and not to Johnny Foreigner: but that\’s what the Supreme Court is for, to consider such arguments and they have rejected them.
You can\’t lock people up without offering them a fair trial and convicting them in one of such.
Good, now that\’s settled, let\’s get on with said trials, shall we?