Scholar: Closing Gitmo About Politics, Not the Law

President Obama can close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without congressional approval, most experts agree. The real question is a matter of politics, not hypothetical legal rationale, they say.

“Who’s going to stop Obama?” asked legal scholar J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department attorney. “That has been the question over the last eight years. No one that I’ve seen seems to have the skillset to stop him.”

Legally, the only restriction on his authority is his ability to spend money to transfer any of the roughly 100 detainees to the U.S., not over the facility itself, Adams said.

Even though Congress has set limits via the defense policy bill Obama just signed regarding detainee transfers, the Constitution allows him to do anything he wants with the historic naval facility, two former administration officials recently argued.