Foreign terrorism suspects held at the Guantánamo Bay naval base in Cuba have constitutional rights to challenge their detention there in U.S. courts, the Supreme Court ruled today, 5 to 4. “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court, reports the New York Times.
The ruling came in the latest battle between the executive branch, Congress and the courts over how to cope with dangers to the country in the post-9/11 world. The justices rejected the administration’s argument that the individual protections provided by the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 were more than adequate. Joining Kennedy were Justices John Paul Stevens, Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David H. Souter. The dissenters were Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr., Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.