Published on October 21, 2014 | by LawNews

Prof. Eric M. Freedman Writes in WSJ: Transferring Gitmo Prisoners Dodges Basic Constitutional Issue

Eric M. Freedman, the Siggi B. Wilzig Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Rights and a consultant to many detainees at Guantánamo Bay, responded in a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal to the article “Obama Weighs Options To Close Gitmo,” by Carol E. Lee and Jess Bravin.

The article details recent efforts by the White House to devise options that would allow President Barack Obama to follow through on his promise to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay. A key component of those options is transferring the Guantánamo detainees to prisons in other countries and the United States.

In his letter, Professor Freedman argues that “the article shows the Obama administration’s continuing refusal to confront the fundamental constitutional issue. The heart of the problem is that the overwhelming majority of the prisoners are being held in preventative detention. They are incarcerated without any prospect of a trial because the executive doesn’t find it convenient to release them.”

Noting that the article reports that the president sees closing Guantánamo as part of his legacy, Professor Freedman adds, “If his definition of success is to shutter the Guantánamo facility while maintaining the royal prerogative of detaining enemies of the realm by fiat, then his legacy will be a long-term weakening of the rule of law.”

The letter appears on page A14 in the print edition on Oct. 21, 2014, with the headline “Guantánamo and the Constitutional Issues.”

Read the full letter (subscription required).

Read the full article (subscription required).

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