WASHINGTON (CN) – The Supreme Court ruled today that foreign prisoners imprisoned at Guantanamo may challenge their detention in U.S. civilian courts. The 5-4 vote in Boumediene v Bush was the administration’s third defeat in the Supreme Court over its treatment of prisoners being held without charge in Cuba. Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, said, “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times.”
“We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege,” Justice Kennedy wrote. He was joined by Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter and Stevens.
In dissent, Chief Justice John Roberts criticized the majority for striking down what he called “the most generous set of procedural protections ever afforded aliens detained by this country as enemy combatants.”
Justice Scalia, in dissent, wrote that the court’s decision “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed.”
The Bush administration argued that the Guantanamo prisoners have no legal rights, but if they do, it argued, the processes of the administration’s status review tribunals were sufficient.