WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether federal courts have the power to order prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay to be released into the United States.
The court’s decision to hear the case adds a further complication to the Obama administration’s efforts to close the prison at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. A measure in Congress that would allow detainees to be admitted to the United States just to face trial had to overcome strong resistance before winning final passage on Tuesday. The administration has met with only fitful success in persuading foreign allies to accept prisoners cleared for release.
The Supreme Court is unlikely to hear arguments in the case before late February, a month after the administration’s deadline of Jan. 22 for closing the prison, though there have been recent signals that the deadline may not be met.
The case concerns 13 men from the largely Muslim Uighur region of western China who continue to be held although the government has determined that they pose no threat to the United States. Continue reading