AP reports that the legal sparring over the merits of the Guantanamo detentions is heating up:
A federal judge ordered the Bush administration on Thursday to explain its detention of a Libyan at a U.S. military prison in Cuba by next week, the first such demand since the Supreme Court ruled in June that foreign detainees can use American courts to challenge their confinement.
U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton set a deadline of next Tuesday for the government to lay out why he should not order the release of Salim Gherebi, who is among nearly 600 men from about 40 countries who have been held with little or no contact with the outside for two years or more.
A case filed on Gherebi's behalf was already pending at the Supreme Court when the justices decided 6-3 to allow U.S. judges to hear detainee lawsuits.
The high court sent the case back to California, where it was filed, and the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals transferred it to Walton's court earlier this month.
In a brief order, Walton said that if government lawyers cannot meet the Tuesday night deadline or are concerned about “revealing classified information that might jeopardize national security,” they can request more time. The judge said he must be told by Friday if the government will seek to have the case dismissed.
Walton said military officers should not try to persuade Gherebi, who was captured in Afghanistan, to waive his legal rights in the meantime.
… Walton was named to the bench by President Bush.
A case to watch!