7,240. 6/12/2008

Boumediene v. Bush was a habeas corpus case brought by six men captured overseas and held at Guantanamo who claimed they were not al Qaeda terrorists and were not supporters of the Taliban. A 5-4 Supreme Court majority found unconstitutional the latest and broadest statute attempting to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over habeas corpus challenges brought by detainees. The Court noted that it was unlawful to detain those who had fought against the United States ‘for the duration of the conflict.’ But [on June 12, 2008] Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for the majority, was troubled by the war’s lack of boundaries. The present conflict, ‘if measured from September 11, 2001, to the present, is already among the longest wars in American history.’ One of the reasons habeas corpus was needed was that ‘the consequence of error may be detention of persons for the duration of hostilities that may last a generation or more.’ The lack of time boundaries made this conflict different from past wars, Kennedy reasoned, requiring more judicial oversight.”

 – Julian E. Zelizer, ed., The Presidency of George W. Bush, Page 52

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