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In Setback for Gitmo Detainees, Supreme Court Turns Down Three Appeals

Posted Apr 5, 2011 10:18 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear three appeals by detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are challenging their detention.

The cert denial is a setback for detainees and a victory for the Obama administration, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The detainees were appealing decisions by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which has so far ruled against detainees in eight cases, and remanded two other cases for reconsideration of an issue.

SCOTUSblog says the cert denial represents the Supreme Court’s “clearest signal yet that it is at least strongly hesitant ... to second-guess how the D.C. Circuit Court fashions the law of detention of individuals by the U.S. military.”

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the D.C. Circuit has given the president broad authority to detain terrorism suspects at Guantanamo, allowed the use of hearsay in Guantanamo cases, and allowed the government to justify detention based on a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard.

Two Guantanamo cert petitions are still pending, SCOTUSblog says. One case now known as Kiyemba III involves five Chinese Muslim Uighur detainees who contend federal judges have the power to order their release from confinement. The other, Khadr v. Obama, asks whether federal judges can block Guantanamo transfers that would put prisoners outside the jurisdiction of U.S. courts.

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