It's the 1st time ever for such a ruling. It concerns the 17 Guantánamo detainees who are Uighurs. The United States has conceded that they are not "enemy combatants"; even so, as we posted a year and a half ago, they cannot be returned to their home in northwest China because of the likelihood that they'll be persecuted there. (Human rights groups charge that China has conducted "a 'crushing campaign of religious repression' against this Muslim people.) (map credit)
Here's a taste of the reasoning that led the Honorable Ricardo M. Urbina (below) of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to his decision, which the U.S. government appealed within hours:
At a hearing packed with Uighurs who live in the Washington area, Urbina rejected government arguments that he had no authority to order the men's release. He said he had such authority because the men were being held indefinitely and it was the only remedy available. ...
Urbina said in court that he ordered the release 'because the Constitution prohibits indefinite detention without cause.' He added, 'The separation of powers do not trump' the prohibition against holding people indefinitely without trial.