August 1, 2007  

To the Supreme Court

For agreeing to review two cases involving detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, who are arguing for the right to challenge their detentions before a federal court.

The Supreme Court’s apparent U-turn — it rejected the cases three months earlier before changing its mind in late June — is highly unusual. And what prompted the reversal is not known publicly. But it’s the right decision. By agreeing to hear the Guantanamo Bay cases and declaring that “a state of war is not a blank check for the president,” the Supreme Court Justices have demonstrated their independence in legal matters, even during war. Whatever the outcome of their decision, the highly controversial issues surrounding the Gitmo Bay detainees will be better served by such a high-level, independent review.