Court's Docket: Detainees, Texas Districts

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The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on a handful of cases in its current session. One of the cases is the so-called "Hamdan case," which could determine the future of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Also pending is a decision on redistricting in Texas. Michele Norris talks with NPR's Nina Totenberg.


NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg joins us now in the studio. Nina, today was the last scheduled decision day at the Court but the work there is not yet done. Two big cases to come. Tell us what's ahead.


Well, there are always days added at the end of the term and the hardest cases are always left for last and this year is no exception. The two big ones that we're all waiting for are the infamous Texas redistricting case and a Guantanamo detainee case.

The Texas case involves the infamous Tom DeLay redistricting and whether it's unconstitutional or illegal under the Voting Rights Act. And the second case involves the detainees at Guantanamo Bay and the procedures for trying them for war crimes. The Bush administration has not yet had a single trial because the procedures are very much in doubt as to their legality.

Those who are challenging them claim that they are unconstitutional because they make the president judge, jury and executioner, in essence. The administration says that he has the power as Commander in Chief to set the rules for these military tribunals and that the Supreme Court doesn't have jurisdiction to intervene. And now, the Supreme Court will decide those questions.

BLOCK: And those cases will be decided in coming days. Nina, we'll look forward to talking to later in the week. Thanks so much.

TOTENBERG: Thank you.

BLOCK: NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

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