Hamdan Ruling Major Defeat for Bush Administration, Victory for Rule of Law

PFAW Foundation Filed Amicus Brief in Case

This morning, the Supreme Court announced its decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which overturned an appeals court’s determination that military detainees are not entitled to fundamental due process rights including the right to be present at their trials and the right to confront witnesses against them.

Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the case, welcomed the ruling. “However heinous the crime of which someone is accused, the hallmark of American justice and that of most civilized nations is that everyone is entitled to a fair trial,” Neas said. “Today’s Supreme Court decision reaffirms that principle. Today’s ruling sends a strong signal to the president that his administration cannot continue to ignore the rule of law.”

An ideologically diverse group of organizations including the Rutherford Institute, Trial Lawyers for Public Justice and the American Jewish Committee joined People For the American Way Foundation in filing the amicus brief (available here). These organizations argued that detainees are entitled to the basic tenets of fair trials and it is unlawful and unconstitutional for the United States to try them in absentia or to prevent them from confronting their accusers.

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