Prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay are challenging their detention by the US military as unconstitutional. Lawyers for 36 of them will argue in the Supreme Court today that a law introduced in 2006 wrongly denies them a meaningful way to challenge their detention at the US naval base on Cuba.
Lawyers say all they want is a fair hearing: “The key issue before the Supreme Court is whether the United States government can take foreigners and hold them outside of the US without any obligations under the law,” said one lawyer.
The Bush administration argues the detentions are lawful, humane, and necessary in what it says is a new-style war on terrorism.
Law Professor Neal Katyal believes the Supreme Court judges may not agree: “I, like most legal observers, believe that the government will have a very tough time defending the constitutionality of a law that divests the Supreme Court of the ability to hear these cases. “
The court has ruled against the administration in two previous Guantanamo cases and one other terrorism case, before the 2006 law took effect. This is the first time the law is being challenged.