The Supreme Court Weighs In On Detention, Leaves No Footprint

The Kiyemba case is a critical test of the president's authority.

As expected, the Supreme Court declined to hear challenges to the habeas corpus status of Uighur detainees at Guantanamo, but national security experts are a bit surprised that the court also vacated the entire ruling -- Kiyemba V. U.S., which rejected the authority of the judicial branch to order detainees released into the United States.

The Supreme Court noted that the facts have changed since the petition was submitted -- several Uighers have been resettled -- but also said that it won't " be the first" court to tackle the legal issues -- if they need to be revised.  The government had challenged the judicial branch's determination to order the release of detained inmates into the U.S., arguing that the constitution gives the president and Congress sole authority over matters of immigration and naturalization. It's a fascinating and important constitutional question, but the Court decided to punt, which means that it won't rule on any detainee-related issues this term. The Justice Department wanted the Court to dismiss the case because the facts had changed, but they did not expect the Court to vacate the entire opinion, which was decided in their favor.