The US Supreme Court ruled Thursday that foreign suspects held at the high security military jail at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have rights under the American constitution to challenge their detention in US civilian courts. The following is from Justice Scalia's Dissent:
America is at war with radical Islamists. The enemy
began by killing Americans and American allies abroad:
241 at the Marine barracks in Lebanon, 19 at the Khobar
Towers in Dhahran, 224 at our embassies in Dar es Salaam
and Nairobi, and 17 on the USS Cole in Yemen. See
National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the
United States, The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 60–61,
70, 190 (2004). On September 11, 2001, the enemy
brought the battle to American soil, killing 2,749 at the
Twin Towers in New York City, 184 at the Pentagon in
Washington, D. C., and 40 in Pennsylvania. See id., at
552, n. 9. It has threatened further attacks against our
homeland; one need only walk about buttressed and barricaded
Washington, or board a plane anywhere in the
country, to know that the threat is a serious one. Our
Armed Forces are now in the field against the enemy, in
Afghanistan and Iraq. Last week, 13 of our countrymen in
arms were killed.The game of bait-and-switch that today’s opinion plays
upon the Nation’s Commander in Chief will make the war
harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans
to be killed. That consequence would be tolerable if
necessary to preserve a time-honored legal principle vital
to our constitutional Republic. But it is this Court’s blatant
abandonment of such a principle that produces the
decision today. The President relied on our settled precedent
It breaks a chain of precedent as old as the common law
that prohibits judicial inquiry into detentions of aliens
abroad absent statutory authorization. And, most tragically,
it sets our military commanders the impossible task
of proving to a civilian court, under whatever standards
this Court devises in the future, that evidence supports
the confinement of each and every enemy prisoner.
The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done
today. I dissent.
After the next terrorist attack that kills hundreds if not thousands of Americans we will not need another commission to pin the blame.
"today’s opinion.....will make the war harder on us. It will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed." ( Justice Scalia)
UPDATE: James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal:
"Perhaps decades from now we will learn that detainees ended up being abused in some far-off place because the government closed Guantanamo in response to judicial meddling. Even those who support what the court did today may live to regret it."
UPDATE 2: I posted the following before but in view of todays Supreme Court decision I will repost it:
John Podhoretz in the New York Post a few year ago wrote:
``What if liberal democracies have now evolved to a point where they can no longer wage war effectively because they have achieved a level of humanitarian concern for others that dwarfs any really cold-eyed pursuit of their own national interests?"
Podhoretz goes on to ask if Britain and the United States could have won World War II if they ``did not have it in them to firebomb Dresden and nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki," inflicting massive civilian casualties, and he ends with this reflection: ``Can it be that the moral greatness of our civilization -- its astonishing focus on the value of the individual above all -- is endangering the future of our civilization as well?"
UPDATE 3: John McCain on the subject
John McCain on Friday described the decision by the Supreme Court to allow Guantánamo Bay prisoners to challenge their detention in US courts as “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country”.
The Republican presidential candidate said he agreed with the four dissenting justices on the nine-member court that foreign fighters held at the detention camp were not entitled to the rights of US citizens.