Rasul v. Bush Decided

June 29, 2004

Reviewing a ruling that the federal courts are not entitled to hear a claim that detainees at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba are being held in violation of the Constitution and international law. DECIDED

The ACLU is part of a broad-based coalition that filed a friend-of-the-court brief calling on the Supreme Court to assure that the detainees being held at Guantánamo have access to the courts to challenge the legality of their detention. A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. had ruled that the Guantánamo camps were part of the "sovereign territory of Cuba" and thus outside the jurisdiction of U.S. laws.

The brief supports an appeal in two related lawsuits filed last year by relatives of 16 Guantánamo detainees who argued that their continued detention without any legal process violates the government’s constitutional and treaty obligations. The signers of the brief take no position as to what process is due the prisoners, but argue that the Due Process Clause and the Geneva Conventions require the nation’s courts to ensure some kind of process.

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