I'm not one to boast (ok, maybe some times) but I just cant help doing a little happy dance over the fact that, in a major rebuke to the Bush administration, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that Bush overstepped his authority and violated both the Geneva COnvention and the Uniform Code of Military Justice in ordering war-crimes trials for Guantanamo detainees without specific authority from Congress.
I said it, the heads of countless other countries said it,military lawyers said it: And today, Five justices of the Supreme Court agreed: we were right, the Bush Administration was wrong. Neener, neeener, neener.
Writing for the court, Justice Stevens said that the Constitution gives the Congress, not the president, the authority to make rules concerning captured prisoners and the implementation of the laws of war.
The president, Stevens wrote, is required both by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions to use regularly constituted military courts, not special courts with special rules, to try accused war criminals.
For the Bush administration, Thursday's ruling was a stunning setback.
Andrew McBride, who filed a brief in the Supreme Court on behalf of former Bush and Reagan attorneys general, says the decision takes the wind out of President Bush's broad assertion of executive power and limits his flexibility.
"I think we will see less people tried in the military tribunals," McBride says, "and more people sent to their countries of origin or dealt with in other ways, as the president attempts to empty Gitmo over the next two years."
Thats the good news. In other news, Professor Goldsmith notes that under the court's decision, detainees can still be held indefinitely, without any trial.