News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion
FRIDAY, JUNE 30, 2006


Court confirms America's commitment to justice

The 5-3 U.S. Supreme Court ruling Thursday rebuking President Bush for his handling of terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, confirmed that, in spite of the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States is committed to justice.

It is the second time the high court rejected President Bush's aggressive anti-terror policies.

In a case two years ago, the court rejected Mr. Bush's claim to have the authority to seize and detain terrorism suspects and indefinitely deny them access to courts and lawyers.

Thursday's ruling focused on how the suspects may be tried. The administration wanted military war crimes trials for the detainees, which it termed "enemy combatants" rather than criminals or prisoners of war in order to circumvent the rights traditionally afforded under Geneva conventions.

The court ruled the administration's proposed "military tribunals" illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions, and that President Bush overstepped his authority when he ordered them.

The case involved Salim Ahmed Hamdan, 36, a Yemeni who allegedly worked as a bodyguard and personal driver for Osama bin Laden.

The government should now charge Hamdan — one of the 450 Guantanamo detainees — under U.S. or international law, prosecute him vigorously and, if he is found guilty, punish him appropriately.

The government should also shut down Gitmo. There is no reason U.S. prisons cannot handle these suspects.

Access to due process makes the American justice system the best in the world. Now that the system has withstood a dangerous attack by the current administration, let justice prevail.

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