McCain calls Guantanamo ruling one of worst in court's history

Republican presidential hopeful John McCain Friday sharply criticized a Supreme Court ruling that granted Guantanamo detainees access to US federal courts...

'The United States Supreme Court yesterday rendered a decision which I think is one of the worst decisions in the history of this country,' McCain said in a townhall meeting in New Jersey .

The highest US court Thursday said that prisoners held in the war on terrorism had the right to challenge their detention at a US naval facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in the US court system.

The ruling was welcomed by civil rights groups in the US and by Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, who on Thursday called it 'an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law.'

But McCain, himself a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who has opposed the physical mistreatment of detainees, said the foreigners held at Guantanamo were 'enemy combatants' in the war on terrorism and should not be given the same rights as US citizens.

About 270 people are still being held at the US naval facility in Guantanamo, most without charges.

The US government said that military tribunals set up to try about 80 of them will continue despite the court's decision that they can appeal to US federal courts.

'My friends, there are some bad people down there. There are some bad people,' McCain said, adding that about 30 prisoners released from Guantanamo 'have already tried to attack America again.'

'Our first obligation is the safety and security of this nation and the men and women who defend it. This decision will harm our ability to do that,' he said.