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U.S. Supreme Court

High Court Accepts Gitmo Appeals

Posted Jun 29, 2007 12:22 PM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Updated: The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed course and agreed to decide whether Guantanamo detainees may challenge their detention in federal court.

The two cases raise a basic question, David J. Savage writes in the May 2007 ABA Journal story, “The Reach of the Writ”: Is habeas corpus protection limited to American citizens and to U.S. territory?

SCOTUSblog calls the court’s cert grant today “a startling turn of events.” The court had denied review of the cases on April 2.

But two of the three justices who dissented from the April 2 cert rejection hinted that the court would reconsider at a later date, the Washington Post reports in an April 3 story. John Paul Stevens and Anthony M. Kennedy both indicated the cases could be reviewed after detainees exhaust other legal measures.

The votes of four justices are needed to an original cert petition, but five votes are needed to accept a motion for reconsideration, Bloomberg News says. It called the court's cert flip-flop the first in recent memory.

Today’s order requests new briefs in the case after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rules on the judicial review process under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. The law permits foreign-born military prisoners to seek a review of their cases in the D.C. Circuit.

Detainees want the appeals court to allow a broad inquiry that considers the accuracy and sufficiency of the evidence against them, Associated Press reports.

Last week, detainee lawyers filed a statement describing the administration-backed review process as inadequate, according to AP.

The cases are Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195, and Al Odah v. United States, No. 06-1196.

Originally posted 06-29-07 at 9:34 AM


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