Thursday, June 29, 2006


Gitmo Better Blues

The Supreme Court's push back on the Bush administration with respect to military tribunals at Guantanamo is and will be a media firestorm today.

SCOTUSBLOG says, the decision on how Al Qaeda captives must be treated is the big story:

More importantly, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.
Various views on this decision can be found here, here, and here.

Busy day at work, so I won't have time to give a protracted analysis of this complicated, multi-level 5-3 (Roberts recusing) decision.

I will say though that a decision which attempts to force a more collaborative approach -- between the President and the Congress and following the rule of law -- in prosecuting detained terrorist is not necessarily a completely bad thing.

A wartime president should have a wartime Congress as a partner in honorably prosecuting a long-term military engagement that comports with American principles.

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