The cases of Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla hit closer to home for Americans. Both are US citizens, although Hamdi was raised in Saudi Arabia. Both are in a Navy brig in South Carolina and until recently neither had seen his lawyer nor known that his case was before the Supreme Court.
Hamdi was captured overseas. He was at Guantanamo until authorities verified he had been born in Louisiana. Padilla was arrested in Chicago, where he grew up, on suspicion of a plot to detonate a radioactive bomb.
The question for the high court is not whether Hamdi and Padilla are guilty, but whether the fight against terrorism allows the government to declare the pair ineligible for the usual constitutional protections afforded traditional defendants.