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McCain Rips Supreme Court Decision on Guantanamo


From CBS News' John Bentley:

PEMBERTON, N.J. -- Calling it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country," John McCain ripped into the Supreme Court's decision to allow Guantanamo detainees access to civilian trials for the second day in a row. "We're now going to have the courts flooded with so-called "habeas corpus suits" against the government, whether it be about the diet, whether it be about the reading material," McCain said. "Our first obligation is the safety and security of this nation and the men and women who defend it. This decision will harm our ability to do that."

The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 yesterday that enemy combatants can challenge their detention at Guantanamo Bay in U.S. courts, instead of military tribunals. It was a decision welcomed by McCain's rival. "The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain," Barack Obama said. "This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus."

At a town hall meeting here today, McCain sought to use Obama's embrace of the decision against him. "Sen. Obama applauds this decision and he supports it," McCain said. "I argue against it and will do what I can to at least narrow down some of the wide open aspects of this Supreme Court decision."

McCain was joined in the condemnation of the decision by one of his supporters who joined him on the campaign trail today, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Graham, who worked with McCain on Guantanamo Bay legislation and is also an attorney for the U.S. Air Force, worried that detainees would seek out judges he felt were unqualified to make decisions on their cases. "Americans are going to be shocked to find the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, now has the same legal standing as an American citizen," Graham said. "What does this mean to America? It means we're not as safe as we used to be, because now, the decision as to who an enemy combatant is, is not going to be made by military personnel tribunals, trained in the matters of warfare, but that decision will be made by the most liberal judges the detainees can find, in the most liberal jurisdictions with no standards, and some of these people are going to be let go simply because they found the right judge with absolutely no criteria as to how to release."

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