I’ll keep this brief and avoid delving into the actual legal arguments set forth by the majority and minority.
What I would like to address, however, is the dissents demeanor in their opinions. Particularly Justice Scalia, but it applies to C.J. Roberts as well.
First and foremost, Scalia explicitly assumes that the detainees held at Guantánamo Bay are enemies of the United States. But both seem to take a very weird bent with regard to the decision. Namely, they seem to imply that the legal system of the United States of America (the same one that they themselves are in the business of judging the law of) is inadequate, and in fact broken.
Scalia in particular seems to believe granting access to the Federal Courts of the United States of America will inevitably lead to the freedom of men who will immediately return strapped with nuclear arms and blow us all to kingdom come.
Let me say that again with a tad less rhetoric: Scalia believes that the US legal system is crap.
And that’s prominent in his arguing. He does argue the issues too, but, to quote as the NYTimes does:
The nation will live to regret what the court has done today.
I’m sorry, but if the terrorists are this bad, that we must destroy all that we have stood for, then we truly face an enemy from which there is no escape and we might as well all go for ice cream immediately. It’s just that simple. If we cannot stand upon our principles when facing the worst enemies, we have no principles upon which to stand.