The Supreme Court just barely ruled this week that those detained in the prison at Guantanamo Bay have the right to invoke habeas corpus just as citizens of the United States are guaranteed under the Constitution. The case began when a number of Algerian immigrants, who were currently residing in Bosnia, were arrested under the suspicion that they were plotting an attack on the American embassy there. Despite the lack of strong evidence that the men had been involved in such a plan, they were transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and have been able to neither challenge the issue nor be released. The ruling from the Supreme Court means that these prisoners, and all others held at Guantanamo, would be granted the right to challenge the reasoning for their detainment. Previously, this action was not considered necessary and was in fact outlawed in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. While the act in part works to defend the humanity of detainees by forbidding any treatment that could be considered torture, it also allowed for indefinite imprisonment.
This 5 to 4 decision from the Supreme Court will eventually give a definition to the confinements of prisoners at Guantanamo, an issue that is greeted with mixed feelings throughout the branches government. The majority holds that by giving detainees the right to challenge their imprisonment is the only constitutional way that this situation can unfold. Using Marbury v. Madison as their precedence, the justices declared that no branch of government may hold themselves above the powers of the Constitution and no prisoner on US soil may be stripped of these rights. Those dissenting, including Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Scalia, are greatly disappointed and concerned about the outcome. In the written opinion, the justices made bold statements regarding the safety of Americans and what this decision will do to jeopardize that.