June 29, 2006


Supreme Court Rejects Guantanamo War Crimes Trials: In 5-3 Decision, Justices Rebuke Bush's Anti-Terror Policy (William Branigin, June 29, 2006, Washington Post)

The case raised core constitutional principles of separation of powers as well as fundamental issues of individual rights. Specifically, the questions concerned:

# The power of Congress and the executive to strip the federal courts and the Supreme Court of jurisdiction.

This is just a dispute between the branches and there's no reason the Executive should cede power to the Judiciary that the Constitution doesn't grant them, like determing the proper handling of prisoners in time of war

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 29, 2006 11:08 AM

According to links provided at instapundit, the Court has ruled that the protections of the Geneva Conventions must be applied to terrorists, which means that the Constitution IS in fact a suicide pact.

Posted by: b at June 29, 2006 11:38 AM

I absolutely agree. However, the President won't do it. A pity.

As an additional measure, the United States should withdraw from the Geneva Conventions. They do absolutly no good. Any country we fight would not dream of following them anyway.

Posted by: Bob at June 29, 2006 11:40 AM

If I remember correctly the Bush Admin stated they would abide by the Courts decision. Is that correct? If so, what happens next?

Posted by: Tom Wall at June 29, 2006 11:45 AM

If so, then the Constitution is what Anthony Kennedy said it is. It's government of Tony, by Tony, for Tony.

Posted by: pj at June 29, 2006 11:51 AM

So now we just the hold the prisoners as POWs for the duration of the war on terror, right? (in other words forever) This decision only forbids trying the men by military tribunal. Are there any rules in the GC concerning limits on how long a POW can be held during an active war?

Not really a win for the terrorists, I'd say. Now they get to rot in gitmo for 1000 years instead of being tried and released or tried and executed as martyrs.

Posted by: Shelton at June 29, 2006 11:55 AM

The next step on the agenda will be to petition the courts to release them for exactly that reason.

Posted by: Gideon at June 29, 2006 12:24 PM

Now, this is a decision that the president should just ignore.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 29, 2006 1:32 PM


Why would W fight for putting them through a military tribunal when W never wanted that in the first place. This decision gives him all he wanted originally.

Posted by: Brad S at June 29, 2006 1:38 PM

Brad S, I'm not remembering about this. What was it the president originally wanted?

Posted by: erp at June 29, 2006 1:46 PM

Excellent off-the-cuff response by the President here. At first he seems to hint that he might ignore the decision if necessary to protect the American people, but later he says flatly that he will abide by the decision.

If the administration really does go back to Congress on military tribunals, as the President suggests, then I think that the ensuing debate, in the run-up to the mid-term elections, will be a political plus for the GOP, as suggested in the note at the link.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 29, 2006 1:51 PM

Brad: I'm not following you. The President issued Military Order No. 1 on November 30, 2001. That order authorized detention and established the military tribunal system. That is only 2 plus months after September 11 and only one plus month after atacking Afghanistan.

So, what was the President's original intention that was earlier in time than Military Order No. 1?

Posted by: Bob at June 29, 2006 2:43 PM

Interesting take in the WSJ's "Best of the Web" today -- as Taranto reads it, the opinion is not nearly so good for the bad guys as the press is spinning it.

Posted by: Mike Morley at June 29, 2006 3:56 PM