In this ruling, the Supreme Court held that the president did not have the authority to establish military commissions to try foreign nationals without congressional authorization. In addition, the Court held that foreign detainees had the rights guaranteed by the Geneva Conventions on Prisoners of War.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the Bush administration launched its war on terrorism, targeting members of the al-Qaeda
In a presidential order of 2001, the Bush administration had made plans to have foreign nationals accused of war crimes to be tried before special military commissions. To defend the legality of the order, the administration referred to the inherent powers of the president as commander in chief and to the congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force of 2001. In addition, administration lawyers pointed to the precedents of World War II,
Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemeni national who had worked as a driver for Osama bin Laden
Reviewing Hamdan’s habeas corpus petition, the Supreme Court rendered the administration a major setback in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld
Although most observers expected that Congress would eventually authorize the creation of military commissions, the Court’s 2006 decision was still important, for it helped to clarify the constitutional prerogatives of the president as commander in chief of the military.
Stevens, John Paul