Supreme Court Denies Immediate Review of Guantanamo Cases

On April 2, 2007, the Supreme Court announced that it would not be hearing the cases of the Guantánamo detainees for the time being. The Court denied the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and co-counsel’s motion to hear the case with three justices dissenting and two issuing a statement that the detainees should exhaust the process set up by the Detainee Treatment Act (DTA).

The DTA allows for limited appeals from the decisions of military review panels -- these avenues would have to be exhausted before they would consider ruling on constitutional questions. Attorneys with the Center for Constitutional Rights expressed disappointment with the ruling.

"The Supreme Court has once more delayed the resolution of the fate of these detainees - three quarters of whom the military admits it will never charge - who have languished without any meaningful way to challenge their detention for more than five years," said CCR Executive Director Vincent Warren. "The processes the government put in place are a sham-they allow the use of evidence obtained through torture and no real review of the facts. DTA review is not an adequate substitute for the right of habeas corpus. We hope our clients survive until they finally get their day in court."

The two justices who issued the statement, Kennedy and Stevens, wish to see the process put in place by the DTA played out to determine if it is an adequate substitute for habeas corpus before they rule. The DTA allows detainees to challenge in the Court of Appeals the decisions of the Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) determining they are so-called "enemy combatants." Attorneys with the Center made the following points:
• The CSRTs are a sham process where the government controls what evidence and witnesses are permitted, evidence obtained by torture is permissible, and the detainees have no lawyer representing them and no guarantee of due process.
• The DTA review in the Court of Appeals only allows review of whether the government adhered to its own rules and contains no provision for considering additional facts not allowed to be considered in the CSRT process.
• The scope of whom the president can label an "enemy combatant" is ever-shifting and virtually without limit.
• Some detainees were sent through the CSRT process as many as three times until they were found guilty-the process is designed to get the government the results it wants.

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 

October 23, 2007