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Ruling: Afghan Detainees Granted Habeas Corpus


It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.


Two of those decisions involve the rights of Guantanamo detainees to challenge their detentions in the U.S. courts. And yesterday, a federal judge in Washington extended that right to some prisoners at the U.S. base in Afghanistan. NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg has more.

NINA TOTENBERG: University of Texas law professor Bobby Chesney specializes in national security law.

BOBBY CHESNEY: It's terribly important. It will extend some form of federal judicial oversight to a subset of the detainees in Afghanistan.

TOTENBERG: Again, Professor Chesney.

CHESNEY: You just have this tension between taking the time to make good sustainable long term decisions that reflect good policy and having to actually come into court to respond to these cases.

TOTENBERG: Adding to the problem is the fact that some of the key national security nominees in legal positions still have not been confirmed at the Justice Department and at the State Department.

CHESNEY: Certainly the president and the party has changed. Now the question is how and to what extent will the approach change on national security and legal policy.

TOTENBERG: And how do you do that in the middle of the game like this.

CHESNEY: Exactly. Are you changing the wings on the airplane while you're flying it?

TOTENBERG: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Nina Totenberg is NPR's award-winning legal affairs correspondent. Her reports air regularly on NPR's critically acclaimed newsmagazines All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Weekend Edition.