2016 May 11

Michael Ratner, Civil Liberties Attorney, Dies


Michael Ratner, long-time attorney with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), and for many years its president, died on this day.

Ratner is most noted for filing the first constitutional challenge to the detention of war on terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay Detention center on February 19, 2002. The case resulted in the landmark decision in Rasul v. Bush on June 28, 2004, the first of four major Supreme Court decisions limiting the authority of the George W. Bush administration in the war on terror.

Justice John Paul Stevens for the Court in Rasul: “What is presently at stake [in this case] is only whether the federal courts have jurisdiction to determine the legality of the Executive’s potentially indefinite detention of individuals who claim to be wholly innocent of wrongdoing. Answering that question in the affirmative, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand for the District Court to consider in the first instance the merits of petitioners’ claims.”

Learn more about President Bush and the detainees: Howard Ball, Bush, The Detainees, & the Constitution: The Battle Over Presidential Power in the War on Terror (2007)

Read: Karen Greenberg, The Least Worst Place: How Guantanamo Became the World’s Most Notorious Prison (2009)

Learn more about the Center for Constitutional Rights: www.ccrjustice.org


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