Reaction to Court Ruling Over Guantanamo
"We can't allow terrorists to simply return home and restart their war plans. Guantanamo will remain open so long as it is in the national security interests of the United States." _ Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.
"It sends a message loud and clear that what President Bush has been doing in the war on terror is illegal. If we are going to win this fight, it is important that we fight it with the rule of law and by the ideals on which the U.S. stands." _ Zachary Katznelson, senior counsel for Reprieve, which provides free legal representation to 36 Guantanamo Bay detainees.
"It's now time for the Bush administration to close the Guantanamo prison, and either return the prisoners to their home countries or bring them to justice in the United States." _ Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif.
_ "Guantanamo serves as an important detention and intelligence facility. ... It enables us to thwart future attacks. It serves as an important detention center but also an intelligence gathering facility." _ Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.
The justices, voting 5-3, said Congress hadn't expressly authorized the military commissions. The justices also said the tribunals violate the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which guarantees such protections as the right to be present at trial.
The ruling is a major political and legal setback for Bush, scuttling plans to try three dozen Guantanamo inmates before tribunals. The ruling also boosts suits challenging the incarceration of hundreds of other detainees. It's a victory for Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden accused of conspiracy.
``In undertaking to try Hamdan and subject him to criminal punishment, the executive is bound to comply with the rule of law that prevails in this jurisdiction,'' Justice John Paul Stevens wrote for the court.
Bush said he will comply with the decision and ask Congress to give an explicit authorization for tribunals, a possibility left open by today's ruling. The ruling ``won't cause killers to be put out on the street,'' the president said.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican from Tennessee, said he will introduce legislation authorizing tribunals with ``appropriate due process procedures for trials of terrorist combatants.''