From Linda Greenhouse's account of the Supreme Court argument earlier this week in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the controversial case about detainees' rights:

Justice Souter persisted [in questioning the Solicitor General]: "You are leaving us with the position of the United States that the Congress may validly suspend [habeas corpus] inadvertently. Is that really your position?"

The solicitor general replied, "I think at least if you're talking about the extension of the writ to enemy combatants held outside the territory of the United States --"

"Now wait a minute!" Justice Souter interrupted, waving a finger. "The writ is the writ..."

Finger waving? At the Supreme Court, this qualifies as a dramatic development -- the biggest news since Anna Nicole Smith showed up.

And it wasn't the only charged moment during the argument. The Solicitor General knew his case was going badly when Justice Ginsburg rose from her chair, touched her finger to her butt, made a sizzling noise, and asked: "Do you know what that sound is? It's your argument getting fried -- on my ass!"

Justices Hint That They'll Rule on Challenge Filed by Detainee [NYT]


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