Center for Constitutional Rights Statement on Carter Confirmation Hearing for Defense Secretary

February 4, 2015 — In light of Ashton Carter's confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee today, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

The next secretary of defense will play a pivotal role helping President Obama fulfill his commitment to close Guantanamo. If Ashton Carter is confirmed by the Senate, as appears likely, he must make it a priority to take a leading role in maintaining the current momentum of transfers. Twenty-seven men have been released from Guantanamo since November— bringing the population down to 122. Of those remaining, 54 have been cleared for release by every prominent military and intelligence agency in the U.S. government, including the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security; still others have been cleared for release after close review by the military’s Periodic Review Board. There is absolutely no moral or legal justification for their continued detention. With Guantanamo entering its 14th year in operation and two years left in President Obama’s final term, it is paramount that the next secretary of defense, together with the president, be personally engaged in closing the prison.

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 13 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts.

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

June 1, 2015