Bush says Supreme Court approved Guantanamo detentions by silence
James M Yoch Jr at 9:44 AM ET
[JURIST] President Bush suggested Friday in a Chicago news conference [transcript] that the US Supreme Court [JURIST news archive] had approved the decision to establish a military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay [JURIST news archive] by its silence on the issue. Bush also seemed to characterize the Court's ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld [JURIST report] as a setting of boundaries for future military commissions, instead of an outright rejection of the option.
Bush asserted that he would work with Congress and the Court to determine guidelines for military tribunals, saying:
I am willing to abide by the ruling of the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court said that in this particular case when it comes to dealing with illegal combatants, who were picked up off a battlefield and put in Guantanamo for the sake of our security, that we should work with the United States Congress to develop a way forward. They didn't [say] we couldn't have done -- made that decision, see. They were silent on whether or not Guantanamo -- whether or not we should have used Guantanamo. In other words, they accepted the use of Guantanamo, the decision I made. What they did say was, in terms of going forward, what should the court system look like? How can we use a military commission or tribunal?... The Supreme Court ruled in Hamdan [text, PDF] that President Bush lacked the constitutional authority to establish military tribunals to try enemy combatants and that the structures and procedures of the tribunals violate both the Uniform Code of Military Justice [text] and the Geneva Conventions [ICRC materials]. The New York Times has more.
And we'll work with the United States Congress....I have been waiting for this decision in order to figure out how to go forward....I stand by the decision I made in removing these people from the battlefield....Some need to be tried, and the fundamental question is, how do we try them? And so, in working with the Supreme -- in listening to the Supreme Court, we'll work with Congress to achieve that objective...
But the idea of making the decision about creating Guantanamo in the first place was upheld by the courts. Or let's say, the courts were silent on it.
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