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Thursday, Jun 29, 2006, 9:11 am

Supreme Court Rejects Gitmo Military Trials

By Brian Zick
William Branigin for WaPo has a 3-pager reporting that The Supreme Court today delivered a stunning rebuke to the Bush administration over its plans to try Guantanamo detainees before military commissions, ruling that the commissions violate U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions governing the treatment of war prisoners.

In a 5-3 decision, the court said the trials were not authorized by any act of Congress and that their structure and procedures violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the four Geneva Conventions signed in 1949.
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Marty Lederman at SCOTUSblog has quick analysis:
Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva aplies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling.

This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).
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Think Progress reports that the Supreme Court Decision on Gitmo Undermines Bush’s Legal Case For Warrantless Wiretapping.

The impact of today’s Supreme Court decision on military commissions goes well beyond Guantanamo. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force – issued by Congress in the days after 9/11 – is not a blank check for the administration.

(via Tracy Van Slyke)
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