Several Supreme Court members expressed skepticism yesterday about the Bush administration’s effort to prevent court hearings for nearly 600 foreigners being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.
USA Today reports that in a sometimes testy session in the first challenge to the administration’s legal war on terrorism to reach the high court, the four more liberal justices were more critical, but Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Anthony Kennedy also raised concerns about the lack of review for suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives. Detainees’ attorney John Gibbons said Bush’s message is essentially: “We don’t have to account to anyone anywhere.”
Justice John Paul Stevens, a former naval officer, contested the administration’s argument that a 1950 case backed its views. “(There is) not a word in the opinion that supports it,” he said Justice Stephen Breyer said that if the prisoners could not get hearings, there would be no check on the administration’s actions.