John McCain today slammed the US Supreme Court ruling that terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a constitutional right to challenge their detention in civilian courts.
At a town hall meeting in Pemberton, N.J., McCain called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."
While McCain reminded voters that he has worked to prevent the torture of terrorism suspects, he also argued against giving those rights to enemy combatants who are not US citizens.
McCain also noted that US officials have said that about 30 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay have attacked American forces.
"There are some bad people down there," he said, adding that the first obligation of the government is to ensure the nation's safety. "This decision will harm our ability to do that."
McCain also warned that the courts will be "flooded" with habeas corpus petitions, delaying the adjudication of the cases.
He also approvingly quoted Chief Justice John Roberts' dissent -- and pointed out that Democratic rival Barack Obama voted against confirming Roberts and praised Thursday's decision.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.