Thursday, June 29, 2006

Hamdan Decided-- Geneva Conventions Not So "Quaint" After All


The Supreme Court decided today that the Bush Administration lacked authority to set up military tribunals for the Guantanamo detainees, and that the tribunals also violated both applicable military law and the Geneva Conventions.

Justice Stevens wrote the main opinion, joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, and joined in part by Justice Kennedy, who wrote separately. Chief Justice Roberts, who joined in the opinion of the D.C. Circuit below, recused himself. Justices Scalia, Thomas, and Alito each wrote dissenting opinions.

As Marty notes over on SCOTUSBlog, the big news is that the Court has now held that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions are judicially enforceable and binding on the President. That provision of the Geneva Conventions also bans cruel treatment and torture. The Supreme Court has decided that the Geneva Conventions aren't so quaint after all.


My heart is with all those lawyers whom, in the courts and outside (especially academics), have stood and continue to stand up to all of these gross attacks against the rule of law. It is thanks to their efforts that they and, as a consequence, democracy in the US and around the world, are the true winners today. Congratulations and keep up the good fight!

I've never been a fan of the law, mainly because it's abused so much and seems so empty, but this decision rocks!

Score 1 for the US Constitution and international treaties!

Have there been any trials that will now be overturned?

And does this mean the torture used on prisoners to obtain information to use against them will be admissible?

Scalia, Thomas, and Alito were the dissenters. Surprise, surprise....

It's a sign of just how far we have fallen in this country that a SCOTUS decision affirming our obligation to the Geneva Convention is cause for dancing in the streets.

maybe Peter, but I'm nonetheless breathing a sigh of relief. It’s hard imagine anything that would play better into the hands of our enemies than for the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the President to ignore the Geneva Conventions.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
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