The legal maneuverings surrounding the Gitmo detainees continues. You may recall that the detainees were denied the right to counsel and access to our courts by the presidential order that they were illegal combatants not subject to the protections of the Geneva Conventions. Instead, they are to be tried by military commissions.
Well, the lawyers representing the detainees have been successful with habeas corpus petitions and earlier this month got a ruling that basically overturned the President's order. The judge said the prisoners had a right to a hearing on whether or not the designation of illegal combat was right or whether they should be considered a prisoner of war. Until such a hearing, the judge declared that they were entitled to the rights given POWs under international law (the Geneva Conventions). The judge also said the military commissions were illegal.
It's interesting to note that the Geneva Conventions themselves provide detainees with hearings on their status and following the Conventions means that prisoner of war status is automatically applied until a hearing is held and a different status (illegal combatant, spy) is shown to apply. We could have avoided all of this mess if we had embraced the Conventions from the start. But, gee, then we wouldn't have been able to "aggressively interrogate" the detainees without breaking the law. (I know, there are those out there who think doing so saved American lives. If you're one of them, I refer you to an earlier post where I addressed this issue.)
Of course, the administration is appealing the ruling. In response, the detainees attorneys are trying to move the case to the Supreme Court immediately. I hope they succeed. And I believe, perhaps naively, that the detainees attorneys will win and that the law will not be set aside at the say-so of a war time president.