The Spectacle Blog

A “Kangaroo Court” Where Defendants Win on Appeal

By on 6.25.08 | 11:56AM

On Monday it was announced that the DC Circuit Court has issued an opinion in Parhat v. Gates, its first appeal from the Combatant Status Review Tribunal under the system established under the Military Commissions Act and the Detainee Treatment Act. The Circuit Court ruled for the petitioner, a Guantanamo detainee:

The court directed the government to release or to transfer Parhat, or to expeditiously hold a new Tribunal consistent with the court's opinion. The court also stated that its disposition was without prejudice to Parhat's right to seek release immediately through a writ of habeas corpus in the district court, pursuant to the Supreme Court's decision in Boumediene v. Bush, No. 06-1195, slip op. at 65-66 (U.S. June 12, 2008). Because the opinion contains classified information and information that the government had initially submitted for treatment under seal, a redacted version for public release is in preparation.
The New York Times editorial board, ever oblivious, thinks this is "Another Rebuke on Guantanamo," part of "a long line of court rulings" against the Bush administration on Guantanamo, and an affirmation of Boumediene. But isn't it clearly just the opposite? The Boumediene majority suggested that the MCA/DTA system couldn't possibly be fair to detainees, and only direct access to the civilian courts for Guantanamo Bay detainees could pass constitutional muster. Yet here we have the DC Circuit Court ruling in favor of a detainee, and apparently demanding some sort of change in the CSRT procedure, within the framework that Congress has laid out, all while keeping classified information under wraps. Seems like they have things under control, at least if we're concerned about balancing liberty and security. If we're concerned with giving judges as much policy-making power as possible, on the other hand, Boumediene makes perfect sense.
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