Jun 12 2008

Graham Calls Supreme Court Ruling 'Dangerous and Irresponsible'

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today made this statement on the Supreme Court ruling granting terror suspects in the War on Terror the right to sue in federal court.


He said:


“I am deeply disappointed in what I think is a tremendously dangerous and irresponsible ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.


"The Court’s decision is bad on many levels and I will continue to review the decision and determine its sweeping effect on our military.  I will also explore the possibility, if necessary, of a constitutional amendment to blunt the effect of this decision when it comes to protecting our men and women in the military and our nation as a whole.


“The Court has conferred upon civilian judges the right to make military decisions.  These judges have virtually no training in military matters yet civilian judges, in some of the most liberal district courts in the country, will have an opportunity to determine who is a threat to the United States .


“Furthermore, the habeas trials will put great burdens on our military forces.  Enemy combatants potentially may be able to sue American troops for money damages and federal judges will now be in charge of the day-to-day military prisons and the interrogation of prisoners.  This will empower activist lawyers and interest groups to intervene in basic military matters for the first time in history.


“The Court ruling establishes a dangerous precedent for our country by conferring upon non-citizen enemy combatants the same rights as American citizens in a criminal proceeding.  They ignore the fact these combatants are warriors, not common criminals.  It is why I continue to believe the legal rights of enemy combatants should be governed by the law of war, not domestic criminal law.


“The Court’s ruling makes clear the legal rights given to Al Qaeda members today should exceed those provided to the Nazis during World War II.  Our nation is at war.  It’s truly unfortunate the Supreme Court did not recognize and appreciate that fact.


“I agree with Chief Justice John Roberts who noted the legal procedures available to detainees today are unprecedented and more than sufficient.  I only wish one more member of the Court would have listened to his wise counsel.  Instead, they took what I consider to be completely dangerous and irresponsible actions during a time of war.


“I agree with Senator John McCain and others that the country would be better off with the closure of Guantanamo Bay in an appropriate fashion that protects our national security interests. However, that is not the issue presented to us by the Court.  At the end of the day, the military is best equipped to determine who presents a military threat to the United States , not civilian judges.”




Examples of Habeas Petitions Filed on Behalf of Detainees


Due to yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling, here are some of the habeas petitions that may be allowed to proceed in federal court.


  • "Al Odah -- Motion for Dictionary Internet Security Forms" -- Kuwaiti detainees seek court orders that they be provided dictionaries in contravention of Guantanamo Bay's (GTMO) force protection policy and that their counsel be given high-speed internet access at their lodging on the base and be allowed to use classified Department of Defense telecommunications facilities, all on the theory that otherwise their "right to counsel" is unduly burdened
  • "Paracha -- Motion for Preliminary Injunction re Conditions" -- Motion by high level al Qaeda detainee complaining about base security procedures, speed of mail delivery, and medical treatment; seeking an order that he be transferred to the "least onerous conditions" at GTMO and asking the court to order that GTMO allow him to keep any books and reading materials sent to him and to "report to the Court" on "his opportunities for exercise, communication, recreation, worship, etc.
  • "Motion for Preliminary Injunction re Medical Records" -- Motion by detainee accusing military's health professionals of "gross and intentional medical malpractice" in alleged violation of the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th Amendments, 42 USC 1981, and unspecified international agreements.
  • "Abdah -- Emergency Motion re DVDs" -- "emergency" motion seeking court order requiring GTMO to set aside its normal security policies and show detainees DVDs that are purported to be family videos.
  • "Alladeen -- Motion for Temporary Restraining Order re Transfer" -- Egyptian detainee who Combatant Status Review Tribunal adjudicated as no longer an enemy combatant, and who was therefore due to be released by the United States, files motion to block his repatriation to Egypt.
  • "Petitioners' Supplemental Opposition" -- Filing by detainee requesting that, as a condition of a stay of litigation pending related appeals, the Court involve itself in his medical situation and set the stage for them to second-guess the provision of medical care and other conditions of confinement
  • "Al Odah Supplement to Preliminary Injunction Motion" -- Motion by Kuwaiti detainees unsatisfied with the Koran they are provided as standard issue by GTMO, seeking court order that they be allowed to keep various other supplementary religious materials, such as a "tafsir" or 4-volume Koran with commentary, in their cells.