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1987-: We the People are still making history

June 12, 2008
Supreme Court rules terrorism suspects have the right to challenge their detention at Guantánamo Bay

Lakhdar Boumediene

In 2002, Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were seized by Bosnian police for their suspected involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. government classified the men as enemy combatants in the war on terror and detained them at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba.

Boumediene filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of the Constitution's Due Process Clause, various statutes and treaties, and international law. The District Court granted the government's motion to have all of the claims dismissed on the ground that Boumediene, as an alien detained, had no right to a habeas petition. The case was brought before the Supreme Court.

Today, in a 5-4 decision, the Court reversed the District Court’s ruling and found in favor of the detainees. The Court stated that foreign terrorism suspects have the constitutional right to challenge their detention in the U.S. courts and could not be denied this right based on their designation as enemy combatants or being held at Guantanamo Bay.

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