Supreme Court switches gears on Guant

The justices say they will hear a challenge they refused just two months ago.

By Tim Grieve
June 29, 2007 6:38PM (UTC)
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Just two months after rejecting an identical request, the U.S. Supreme Court today said it would hear a case in which detainees at Guantánamo Bay are challenging their confinement there.

When the court denied the detainees' petitions for writs of certiorari in April, Justices Anthony Kennedy and John Paul Stevens wrote a brief statement suggesting that they weren't willing to close the door on the case entirely. "If petitioners later seek to establish that the Government has unreasonably delayed proceedings under the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 or some other and ongoing injury, alternative means exist for us to consider our jurisdiction over the allegations made by petitioners before the Court of Appeals," they wrote. "Were the Government to take additional steps to prejudice the position of petitioners in seeking review in this Court, 'courts of competent jurisdiction,' including this Court, 'should act promptly to ensure that the office and purposes of the writ of habeas corpus are not compromised.'"


We're not sure which of those things -- if any -- triggered the court's decision today. But as the Associated Press notes, lawyers for the detainees filed with the court last week "a statement from a military lawyer in which he described the inadequacy of the process the administration has put forward as an alternative to a full-blown review by civilian courts."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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