Suppose Obama ignores Congress and transfers Gitmo detainees to US federal prison

This is whispered about as a possible action Obama might take in his last year in office, to fulfill a campaign pledge. Presumably, he would contend that it is within his Article II exclusive power and that the statute forbidding this is unconstitutional.

Putting aside practical problems about funding for a moment, my question for GD is this: Who, if anyone, would have standing to challenge this?

I’m hard pressed to imagine who might have standing (both Article III standing, and a private right of action under the statute). The guards ordered to transfer the inmates, maybe? Seems like a stretch.

Oh, so this is an invitation to play legalball? Don’t you kinda have to admit to being a lawyer before you can suit up?

All comers welcome. All you need to know is pretty much covered here.

Impeachment. No standing required.

If a Republican wins the Presidency, Obama should do it as a “fuck you” gesture in the last week of his administration.

Could he just give Gitmo back to Cuba?

And the Republican president will send them right back, as a “fuck you” gesture to Obama.

And take action? That doesn’t sound very Republicanny.

Well, I have forbidden the election of another Republican president for the remainder of eternity, so it’s moot, but as a thought experiment, one supposes that the interval between the election and Inauguration Day would be sufficient time to close the facility, stand the military down and turn the entire installation to the Cuban government.

Checkmate, I should think.

We pay rent for Gitmo, right? Got a honey of a deal on the lease. So, maybe we don’t pay the rent? And say “We ain’t paying the rent, whaddaya gonna do about it?!”.

Of course, maybe they say “Nothing. We don’t care, keep your money.”

Is it legal to hand over Guantanamo to the Cubans if they don’t want it back? Could we like, gather up our weapons and personnel and just vamoose? Unlock the doors, split in the middle of the night? Helicopters land, we board, we gone! Probably don’t have to dump the helicopters overboard this time.

OK, guys, all kidding aside. Judge Parker wants to have an intelligent and serious debate on an interesting point. Well, not about sex or money, but still, sorta interesting.

He has done good and steady yeoman Doper work, and has earned some consideration. So, OK, then, where’s my serious sober typeface…ah!

I don’t think he can actually hand it over, its a treaty that we insisted was legal and binding when we didn’t want to give it back. Kind of massive chutzpah to suddenly say “No, you guys were right all along, here you go, seeya bye.” We’re the Americans, we don’t do shit like that. Very often. This week.

So, no, I don’t think he is empowered to nullify a treaty on his own authority.

Cuba is the sovereign power over the area, but they granted a “perpetual lease” to the US in 1934. Since the Cuban revolution Cuba has maintained that the US occupation is illegal, arguing that the 1934 treaty (and prior agreemements between the US and Cuba) were extracted by duress. They have not cashed the rent cheques that the US continues to send.

So, if the US unilaterally withdrew from the base, signalling that they had no further interest in it, no doubt the Cubans would reoccupy it. There’d be no need for a covert midnight evacuation; the Cubans would be delighted to facilitate it in every way. And they would not be disposed to return the base to US control if a later US administration decided that withdrawal had been a bad idea, and wanted to go back.

The Cuban government doesn’t cash the checks.

Yeah, so? Is there some clause in that treaty that says if the Cubans don’t cash the check, they can take it back? Or that they have to? What’s your point?

Because you said, and I quote:

We’re ALREADY not paying the rent. Did you not know that? Apparently not.

The point is that Cuba doesn’t recognize the validity of this treaty. So, if the USA left, Cuba would have no issue taking Guantanamo back, since from their point of view the current American occupation is illegitimate. That was supposed to answer your question : “Is it legal to hand over Guantanamo to the Cubans if they don’t want it back?” .

I doubt it. Everyone seems to recognize that holding the detainees in Guantanamo is an ongoing problem. So while an incoming President might denounce the action, he’d be secretly relieved that he didn’t have to deal with the issue.

The current status is that Cuba says the United States does not have a treaty right to occupy Guantanamo while the United States says it does. Beyond that, little is likely to happen. The Cuban government is not reckless enough to try to put its interpretation into effect by forcibly evicting the Americans.

And while we’re talking about putting these prisoners into American prisons, (please correct my numbers if I’m wrong) of the hundred or so dudes left, 30ish haven’t even been convicted of crimes. USA! USA!

Maybe the question was too inside baseball after all, but I haven’t seen anyone make a case for anyone having standing to sue.

John Mace is of course right about impeachment or electoral reversal. Does impeachment strike anyone as likely for this? It doesn’t strike me as likely given both the underlying politics and the colorable (if ultimately incorrect) legal case for the President having this as an exclusive authority.