June 13, 2008 10:10 Age: 6 yrs

Swift Responds to Supreme Court Ruling on Guantanamo Detainees

Charles Swift

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday, June 12, that Guantanamo Bay detainees have the right to challenge their imprisonment without charges in federal court. Charles Swift, visiting associate professor of law and acting director of Emory Law’s International Humanitarian Law Clinic, is closely tied to the issue, having defended Yemeni detainee Salim Hamdan. Following the ruling, Swift was quoted in several news articles and was interviewed on CNN.

“The clearest immediate impact of this ruling is to remove the remaining barriers for closing Guantanamo Bay,” Swift said on CNN. “It means, in legal terms, Guantanamo Bay is no different than Kansas.”

Swift also responded in an Associated Press story that ran on ABCNews.com. “Guantanamo generally and the [military] tribunals were conceived on the idea that ‘constitutional protections wouldn’t apply,’ Swift said. ‘The court said the Constitution applies. They’re in big trouble.’”

According to the AP article, Swift will “seek dismissal of the charges against Hamdan based on the new ruling.”

The 5-4 ruling applies to nearly 300 Guantanamo detainees, most of whom are being held as suspected terrorists with links to al-Qaida. The legal question of the detainees’ right to habeas corpus has been argued by the Supreme Court since 2004. “The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times,” said Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the majority.

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