The Supreme Court ruled today that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees, reports the Associated Press. The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and international Geneva conventions. The vote was 5-3, with Justice Anthony Kennedy joining the court’s more liberal members. Chief Justice John Roberts did not take part because as an appeals court judge he had backed the government.
“Trial by military commission raises separation-of-powers concerns of the highest order,” Kennedy wrote in his opinion. In a dissent, Justice Clarence Thomas said the court’s willingness “to second-guess the determination of the political branches that these conspirators must be brought to justice is both unprecedented and dangerous.”