Hobby Lobby Ruling Used by Gitmo DetaineesBy: Mike Tuttle - July 9, 2014
As if it weren’t enough that every armchair pundit in the United States is prognosticating about the unintended far-reaching effects of the Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby case, here comes the sworn enemy of the United States to weigh in on the debate.
Lawyers for detainees at Guantanamo Bay are using the Hobby Lobby ruling in support of arguments for their clients, terrorist detainees. The detainees have previously complained that their freedom to worship is infringed upon by conditions at Gitmo. However the courts have ruled that Gitmo detainees are nonresident aliens. Therefore, the protections of the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA) afforded to U.S. citizens — and now to corporations, thanks to the Hobby Lobby ruling — are not applicable to them.
Given the Hobby Lobby ruling, the detainees are trying once again to get some recognition of themselves as “persons”, and therefore have the RFRA applied to them. Their attorneys submitted a filing to that end.
“Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons—human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien—enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA,” the filing reads. “Guantanamo Bay detainees, as flesh-and-blood human beings, are surely ‘individuals,’ and thus are no less ‘person[s]‘ than are the for-profit corporations in Hobby Lobby or the resident noncitizens whom Hobby Lobby gives as an example of persons to whom the RFRA must apply.”
“Thus, Hobby Lobby puts it beyond reasonable dispute that, as ‘person[s]‘ protected by the RFRA, Guantanamo Bay detainees enjoy rights of religious free exercise, including the right to pray in congregation.”
The detainees have filed a motion asking for the court to order military personnel to allow communal prayer during Ramadan.
Guantanamo detainees have been staging hunger strikes for years over what they see as abuses of their religious traditions.
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