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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Supreme Court backed away from confrontation with Obama


WASHINGTONThe Supreme Court backed away Monday from a confrontation with the Obama administration and Congress over the handling of Guantanamo prisoners who are judged to be wrongly held as an enemy combatants.

The justices dismissed a pending case brought on behalf of 17 Chinese Muslims, or Uighurs, who were held as prisoners at Guantanamo even after a judge ruled they deserved to go free. Congress and the Justice Department balked at a judge’s plan to release them into the United States

In the fall, the high court said it would hear the Uighurs’ case to decide whether a judge has the power to release a foreign prisoner over the objections of the government. Two years ago, the justices in a 5-4 decision said the right to “”habeas corpus”” extended to Guantanamo and that judges could hear appeals from prisoners who said they were wrongly held.

That decision did not, however, squarely say the judge also had the power to order the prisoner to go free.

In recent weeks, however, the Obama administration told the justices that it had found new homes for all of these Uighurs in countries outside the United States.

“”By now, each of the detainees at issue in this case has received at least one offer of resettlement in another country,”” the court said in a brief order. Most have left Guantanamo. However, five of them have rejected two such offers and remain at the U.S. prison, the justices said.

Since none of the Uighurs can now claim he is being held against his will at Guantanamo, the court said it would not decide the Uighurs’ legal claim in the case of Kiyemba v. Obama. Instead, it sent the case back to a lower court to oversee the dispute.

The court’s action spares the Obama administration a showdown with the court over whether it could continue to hold Guantanamo prisoners who had won their legal claims before a federal judge. The move gives the administration more time to resolve how to handle the remaining prisoners at Guantanamo.



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