It is not a "get out of jail free" card. When our forefathers drafted the United States Constitution in the mid- to late-1700s, they agreed that no longer would the citizens of our new United States be held without bail, or without "due cause." This constitutional bedrock was instituted to assure that the Government could not pick up citizens and throw them in jail or prison without the prisoner having some recourse. That recourse is habeas corpus.
My understanding of the Boumediene ruling by the Supreme Court is that it simply allows the Gitmo prisoners the right to habeas corpus, entitling them to the right to file a document that demands an answer to this core question: Do you (Government) have the legal right to keep me in prison?
I have heard people are outraged at this ruling. Our Republican presidential nominee, John McCain, was vocal in his criticism of the Supreme Court ruling stating the decision was "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Perhaps he believes that this decision should be in the same category as the Dred Scott decision, which upheld slavery, and Plessy v. Ferguson, which permitted separate but equal accommodations for races.
In actuality, the Supreme Court only gave the Guantánamo prisoners the same right that any person would want if they, or one of their loved ones, were arrested and placed in jail in another country.
The problem with that belief is that most countries do not have this thing called "habeas corpus." Many countries CAN arrest you--a citizen of the United States of America--and throw you in jail. What recourse do you have to assure that you are not languishing in jail for years before anyone decides your fate? I would bet that habeas corpus is not one of them. Remember the movie Midnight Express? That harrowing film about an American who was locked away in a Turkish prison was based on a true story.
So before you join the ranks of the uninformed citizens criticizing our Supreme Court, stop and think for a moment. Is it not OK for an inmate in a foreign country to have the right to ask "what are my charges and do you have enough evidence to hold me here?"
Guantánamo is an unacceptable legal black hole. Our U. S. Supreme Court simply said to all of us that we are a nation committed to the rule of law--not the rule of men.Tweet