Federal Judge Issues Split
Decision on New Military Commissions Act
By David G. Savage
The Los Angeles Times
Thursday 14 December 2006
Washington - In the first legal decision on a federal law that denies access to U.S. courts to detainees in the war on terrorism, a federal judge ruled Wednesday that foreign prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, could not sue for freedom.
But, in a split decision, U.S. District Judge James Robertson also ruled that the law's denial of that right to the more than 12 million legal immigrants living in the United States was unconstitutional.
The first part of the ruling affirmed what Congress intended when it passed the Military Commissions Act in October. The decision came in the case of Salim Hamdan, the onetime driver to Osama bin Laden, who won what appeared to be a landmark victory in the Supreme Court in June.