Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Guantanamo and the Constitution

In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled that although the United States doesn’t hold total sovereignty over Guantanamo Bay, “enemy combatant” detainees are still entitled to some constitutional protections. In 2006, the Military Commissions Act allowed detainees to file only against their status as enemy combatants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, prohibiting them from submitting habeas petitions for release. In 2008 the Supreme Court ruled that Guantanamo detainees should have the right to challenge their imprisonment through habeas corpus petitions.

This past May, President Obama was lauded by many human rights activists for signing an executive order for the closing of Guantanamo Bay Prison by January 22, 2010. However, others expressed concerns regarding complications surrounding the relocation of prisoners and thorough reviews of each detainee. For very different reasons some members of Congress and civil liberties groups both object to proposals that would relocate the detainees to American prisons.

Italy’s recent willingness to accept three prisoners is another step forward to closing down the Guantanamo Bay prison. Last week, an agreement secured with the European Union included propositions for European countries to accept former prisoners on a case-by-case basis.

Remind your students to highlight and click on the text of the Constitution to read Linda Monk's commentary.

Have your students read Article I section 9 clause 2 and the Fourteenth Amendment. Discuss habeas corpus. Ask your students if habeas protections should apply to the detainees at Guantanamo Bay Prison.

Have your students read the Eighth Amendment. Discuss cruel and unusual punishment. Ask your students if the detainees at Guantanamo should have this constitutional protection.

Have your students read Article III section 2 clause 2 and Article II section 2 clause 1. Ask your students if the Supreme Court has jurisdiction over the prison and detainees at Guantanamo Bay.

No comments:

Post a Comment