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Court Hears Test of How Detainees Handled

The government can’t throw out prisoners’ constitutional rights to make their case in court just because the country faces new threats in the war on terrorism, a lawyer for foreign-born detainees argued Tuesday in the Supreme Court’s first case arising from the Sept. 11 attacks. “It’s been plain for 215 years,” lawyer John Gibbons argued. The government, he said, cannot create a “lawless enclave” where no court, American or otherwise, can check up on things. “The United States is at war,” responded Theodore Olson, the Bush administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer. Foreigners held at the Navy’s prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, want the Supreme Court to give them a legal right “that is not authorized by Congress, does not arise from the Constitution, has never been exercised by this court,” said Olson, himself a symbol of the cost of terrorism. Full Story

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