SCOTUS Overturns Detainee Photo Release Order
The U.S. Supreme Court has reversed a decision by the 2nd Circuit (in which Sonia Sotomayor took part) on detainee photographs.
The justices sent the case back to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in Manhattan, which ruled in 2008 that the pictures should be released to the public. But at the request of the Obama administration, the Second Circuit later postponed its own order, setting the stage for the administration to take the case to the Supreme Court.
On Monday, the justices told the Second Circuit to give “further consideration” to the issue in light of a Congressional action authorizing the Defense Department to keep the pictures from the public. With the issue on its way back to the Second Circuit, a final decision will probably not be made for months.
The administration said in April that it would not oppose release of the images. But President Obama changed his mind after seeing the photographs, and after listening to arguments from Pentagon officials that the pictures, taken early in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, would indeed inflame anti-American sentiment.
Sotomayor recused herself from the case.
It’s quite conceivable that the 2nd Circuit would have decided the other way in light of subsequent legislation, since its decision was not based on Constitutional interpretation but rather the weighing of separate statutes (the Freedom of Information Act and the CIA Information Act).