Courts at War Time

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The Supreme Court is arming itself for the war on terror. Next week, the justices will hear two cases that could adjust the balance of power between the decisions of the president and the rights of American people.

At issue is whether a U.S. citizen, picked up on the battlefields of Afghanistan or on American soil, can be deemed an “enemy combatant” and detained indefinitely. Critics say the Yaser Hamdi and Jose Padilla cases fly in the face of due process rights guaranteed in the 5th amendment to the Constitution. The Bush Administration argues that the nation is at war, and that this gives the President the power to arrest any and all enemies, regardless of their passport. The high court weighs in on the definition of war, the battlefield and U.S. citizenship.


Deborah Pearlstein, Director of the U.S. Law and Security Program at Human Rights First;
Pete Peterson, Former U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam;
Doug Kmeic, Professor of Constitutional Law, Pepperdine University;