Obama Change (Gitmo Version)

Ken AshfordConstitution, Courts/Law, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Already Obama is gearing up to reverse the Bush position with respect to Gitmo detainees.  Unlike Bush, who doesn't believe in the right to a speedy and fair trial is part of those God-given rights that we hold to be self-evident, Obama is

…quietly crafting a proposal to ship dozens, if not hundreds, of imprisoned terrorism suspects to the United States to face criminal trials, a plan that would make good on his promise to close the Guantanamo Bay prison but could require creation of a controversial new system of justice.

It's "controversial" because nobody knows exactly what that "new system of justice" will look like.  But still, at least it is ostensibly a system of justice — one that is more transparent — which is far more preferable than what Bush did (leaving the Gitmo detainees to sit there for years, sometimes without even charging them, much less convicting them, of any crime).

Even the Supreme Court this year, in Boumediene v. Bush, shot down Bush administration’s practice of holding terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay in indefinite detention.  The Bush administration had argued to the court that Gitmo is a "law free zone".

Nice, huh?

I mean, some of these guys may be innocent.  For example, while we were all focused on the election last week, government prosecutors were quietly dropping some of the charges against some of the detainees.

So this move by Obama is a good thing, although, as the AP article suggests, it's not without its share of legal landmines.  More to come, I'm sure.