In 1992, three hundred innocent men, women, and children who had qualified for political asylum in the United States were forced into a squalid detention camp at the American naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. They feared they might never be released.
Storming the Court takes readers inside this modern-day atrocity to tell the tale of Yvonne Pascal--a young, charismatic activist--and other Haitian refugees who had fled their violent homeland only to end up prisoners on Guantanamo. They had no lawyers, no contact with the outside world, and no hope . . . except for a band of students at Yale Law School fifteen hundred miles away.
Led by Harold Koh, a gifted but untested law professor, these remarkable twenty-somethings waged a legal war against two U.S. presidents to defend the Constitution and the principles symbolized by the Statue of Liberty. It was an education in law unlike any other. With the refugees' lives at stake, the students threw aside classes and career plans to fight an army of government attorneys in a case so politically volatile that the White House intervened in the legal strategy.
Featuring a real-life cast that includes Kenneth Starr and other top Justice Department officials, U.S. marines, radical human rights lawyers, and Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Storming the Court follows the students from the classrooms at Yale to the prison camp at Guantanamo to the federal court in New York and Washington as they struggle to save Yvonne Pascal and her fellow refugees.
At a time when the treatment of post-9/11 Guantanamo detainees has been challenged in the courts and the public arena, this book traces the origins of the legal battle over America's use of the naval base as a prison and illuminates the troubling ways that politics can influence legal decisions. Above all, though, Storming the Court is the David-and-Goliath story of a group of passionate law students who took on their government in the name of the greatest of American values: freedom.