Whether or not the Obama Administration closes down Guantanamo Bay soon after Inauguration Day, the Department of Justice's role in counterterrorism is going to change:
- The cases against many detainees, at Guantanamo Bay and other facilities, have already been falling apart.
- The Obama Administration will likely not pursue cases as vigorously as its predecessor. For example, by choosing not to contest federal court rulings, such as the recent one concerning the treatment of the Uighur prisoners, Guantanamo will begin to depopulate. In other situations where the Bush DOJ contested decisions, an Obama DOJ is less likely to make the same legal challenges.
- The DOJ is likely to be one of the main targets of the Obama team's planned "personnel review." If you're working for the DOJ, and you're a graduate of Patrick Henry University, you might want to polish up your resume.
- On top of the existing Guantanamo-inspired Supreme Court rulings, more potential cases before the Court are in the works. Again, the Obama Administration can choose not to put up a fight, in which case, the depopulation of Guantanamo will acelerate that much more.
The only thing that might make this situation better is the comic spectacle of some who supported for the bogus "unitary executive" theory now arguing against Obama's presidential discretion in handling these cases. Don't discount the possibility.