5,984. 6/28/2004

On June 28, 2004, “the Supreme Court issued the first of its decisions rejecting the Bush administration’s positions on terrorism, by holding in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that the Constitution did not provide the president with a ‘blank check.’ Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for the Court, warned that an unaccountable executive could make mistakes, including detaining people who were merely in the wrong place at the wrong time. In O’Connor’s words, ‘History and common sense teach us that an unchecked system of detention carries the potential to become a means for oppression and abuse of others.’ As a result, the Court held, the administration had to provide due process to an American citizen, Yaser Hamdi, who had been apprehended in Afghanistan during the United States’s military intervention to remove the Taliban. The government released Hamdi soon thereafter, although it continued to hold hundreds of detainees at Guantanamo and many more in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

 – Peter Margulies, Law’s Detour, Pages 56-57

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