Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Reader 1

George Thomas

Rights Information

© 2016 Lane Hannah Corrigan


After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush authorized the detention of certain non-citizens suspected of terrorism at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Beginning in 2004, the Supreme Court considered whether these non-citizens were entitled to rights under the Constitution. In deciding that question, the Court compared the facts in the War on Terror cases with World War II cases that dealt with the rights of captured Nazis. Though the cases from World War II denied all protections to nonresident enemies, the Court in 2004 and 2008 determined that detentions in Guantanamo were unique. As such, the Court held that non-citizens detained at Guantanamo had certain constitutional privileges. I analyze two cases from World War II, Johnson v. Eisentrager and Ex Parte Quirin, and two cases from the War on Terror, Rasul v. Bush and Boumediene v. Bush, to illustrate the evolution in the Court’s understanding of non-citizen enemies’ rights. Ultimately, I find that the Court has done its part to protect detainees’ basic rights, but that Congress should do more to enact legislation that embodies our nation’s commitment to fairness, justice, and other constitutional values.