This was the big ruling everyone was waiting on and Bush suffered a big blow on it:
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the Bush administration did not have the legal authority to go forward with military tribunals for detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba.
The 5-3 ruling means officials will either have to come up with new procedures to prosecute at least 10 so-called enemy combatants awaiting trial, or release them from U.S. military custody.
The case was a major test of President Bush’s authority as commander in chief in a wartime setting. Bush has aggressively asserted the power of the government to capture, detain, and prosecute suspected terrorists in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
The high court was ruling on the case of Ahmed Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni native captured in Afghanistan in 2001, shortly after the September 11 attacks. He is accused of conspiracy, which his lawyers say is not an internationally approved charge.
His lawyers argued that President Bush exceeded his authority by setting up military commissions to try terrorist suspects, whom the administration terms “enemy combatants,” rather than prisoners of war. The term means the suspects do not have the rights traditionally afforded prisoners of war, as outlined in the Geneva Conventions.
Three issues were before the high court: whether the planned tribunals are a proper exercise of presidential authority; whether detainees facing prosecution have the right to challenge the procedures of those tribunals and their detentions; and whether the Supreme Court even has the jurisdiction to hear such appeals.
The conservative Supreme Court even believes the President has limited powers (John Roberts didn’t vote on it because he had ruled on this case in a lower court. At that time he ruled against the government). So now can we find out if the President has the power to ignore the Constitution because he is “command in chief”, or do these “terrorists” get more constitutional style protections than U.S. citizens? This is a massive blow to Bush and does open the door for such questions.