September 9, 2021
Indefinite Detention: Examining Guantanamo 20 Years After 9/11
Now that American troops have left Afghanistan, the story of the remaining 39 detainees in the United States military prison at Guantanamo Bay Cuba may or may not be coming to an end. The fate of these men is in the hands of both the Biden administration – which states it wants to close the facility – and the judiciary, which is more conservative and more deferential to the executive branch than it was 20 years ago when it granted limited habeas corpus rights to detainees.
What does this changed judiciary and polarized political climate mean for the remaining Guantanamo detainees? Will courts defer to executive branch claims that the U.S. Government can legally detain suspected terrorists after the withdrawal from Afghanistan as the Justice Department claims? If so, what does this say about how – or if – the judiciary will police separation of powers and protect civil liberties in the face of national security claims moving forward? And what is Congress' role in all of this – what has it done and what should it do?
Russ Feingold, President, ACS
Linda Greenhouse, Clinical Lecturer in Law and a Senior Research Scholar in Law, Yale Law School,
Baher Azmy, Legal Director, Center for Constitutional Rights
Hina Shamsi, Director of the National Security Project, American Civil Liberties Union
Rita Siemion, Senior Counsel, U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee
Steve Vladeck, Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts, University of Texas Austin Law School