From the initial returns, one might believe that during its 2003-04 Term the Supreme Court dealt the Bush Administration a defeat in the war on terrorism. Two cases, both handed down in the last few days of the Term, seemed to give rise to the popular notion that the judiciary had thoroughly rebuked the executive branch. One case, Rasul v. Bush, held that, for the first time, the federal district courts may review the grounds for detaining alien enemy combatants held outside the United States. In a second case, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Court required that American citizens detained in the war have access to a lawyer and a fair hearing before a neutral judge to challenge their status as enemy combatants.
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