29 June 2007

Gitmo Cases Back In Play

In a startling turn of events in the legal combat over the war on terrorism, the Supreme Court on Friday agreed to reconsider the appeals in the Guantanamo Bay detainee cases. It vacated its April 2 order denying review of the two packets of cases. The Court then granted review, consolidated the cases, and said they would be heard in a one-hour argument in the new Term starting Oct. 1. Such a switch by the Court -- from denial to rehearing and new argument and decision -- may not have occurred since 1947, in Hickman v. Taylor, 329 U.S. 495, legal sources said Friday.

Someone convinced Justice Kennedy to change his mind. Assuming that the four liberals on the Court are the other people who voted to change course on these cases, this is very good news indeed. The grant's support from high court liberals presumably flows from the belief that Kennedy will vote the right way in this case.

Personally, I cynically suspect that the announcement in the Washington Post that the administration is seriously considering abandoning Gitmo all together is as important as the new legal developments in the matter. I also cynically suspect that sometime around September 2007 that the administration will moot the case by shutting down the base after all.

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