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Supremes smack down Chimpy on Guantanamo

[UPDATE: This decision is a critical blow to the Bush Administration; you have to surf over to Glenn Greenwald’s excellent post, Media, others finally recognizing the President’s seizure of law-breaking powers.]

Ooops. Bush megalomania skirted both military justice law and the Geneva Convention in setting up war crimes trials. AP has more:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering 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 Geneva conventions.

The case focused on Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a body guard and driver for Osama bin Laden. Hamdan, 36, has spent four years in the U.S. prison at Guantanamo. He faces a single count of conspiring against U.S. citizens from 1996 to November 2001.

Two years ago, the court rejected Bush’s claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts or lawyers. In this followup case, the justices focused solely on the issue of trials for some of the men.

The vote was split 5-3 according to another AP update — moderate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy joined the court’s liberal members on the vote, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who had backed the government’s side when he was on the appeals court, was sidelined in this case.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding