In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s denial Monday of certiorari to the cases of seven Guantánamo detainees who had petitioned the Court for review of decisions by the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Executive Director Vincent Warren issued the following statement:
The Center for Constitutional Rights is extremely disappointed in the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari in the latest set of habeas cases brought by Guantánamo detainees. By refusing to hear these cases, and any Guantánamo cases since its 2008 Boumediene decision, the Court abandons the promise of its own ruling guaranteeing detainees a constitutional right to meaningful review of the legality of their detention. Today’s decision leaves the fate of detainees in the hands of a hostile D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has erected innumerable, unjustified legal obstacles that have made it practically impossible for a detainee to win a habeas case in the trial courts. The D.C. Circuit, the country’s most conservative court of appeals, has reversed every detainee victory appealed to it by the government, and as consequence, district courts in D.C. have ruled in favor of detainees in only one of the last 12 cases before them.
For nearly 10 years, the Supreme Court’s involvement has been essential in checking the excesses of Executive-Branch detainee policy and in clearing a path in the lower courts for justice for the detainees. The Court’s refusal to get involved at this critical juncture permits the Court of Appeals to continue to rubber stamp the military’s decision-making, undermining our constitutional system of separation of powers.
In light of the failure of the courts to carry out their constitutionally-assigned role, CCR calls on the President to fulfill his promise to close Guantánamo, the most infamous prison in the world. He should begin by releasing the 87 men who military, intelligence and law enforcement agencies have unanimously concluded should be released on the grounds that they pose no danger to the United States.