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BREAKING: Habeas Rights Upheld For Gitmo Detainees By SCOTUS

In a stunning blow to Bush Administration claims of executive power, the SCOTUS today issed a 5-4 decision upholding the habeas rights of detainees at Gitmo. Via SCOTUSBlog:

The Court has released the opinion in Boumediene v. Bush(06-1195) and Al-Odah v. United States (06-1196), on whether the Military Commissions Act of 2006 violates the habeas corpus rights of foreign detainees held at Guantanamo Bay. The ruling below, which found for the government, is reversed. Justice Kennedy wrote the opinion. The Chief Justice, Justice Scalia, Thomas and Alito dissented.

The opinion is not yet online for a full reading, but AP reports that:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign terrorism suspects held at Guantanamo Bay have rights under the Constitution to challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts.

The justices handed the Bush administration its third setback at the high court since 2004 over its treatment of prisoners who are being held indefinitely and without charges at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. The vote was 5-4, with the court’s liberal justices in the majority.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the court, said, "The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times."

This is an enormous rebuke to the Bush Administration and their supporters who rammed the MCA forward, and a repudiation of their attempts to override the rule of law on fear tactics and power grabs. More from SCOTUSblog here, who also have links to other opinions issued today including that of the Irizarry case on notice on departures from sentencing guidelines.

Much more on this as we get it.

UPDATE: The case is now online as a PDF. Reading now. Marty has an early summary up at Balkinization.

UPDATE #2: From the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represented defendants in these cases: "The Supreme Court has finally brought an end to one of our nation’s most egregious injustices,” said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. “It has finally given the men held at Guantánamo the justice that they have long deserved. By granting the writ of habeas corpus, the Supreme Court recognizes a rule of law established hundreds of years ago and essential to American jurisprudence since our nation’s founding. This six-year-long nightmare is a lesson in how fragile our constitutional protections truly are in the hands of an overzealous executive."

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com