Byron York: The coming battle over Guantanamo and the imperial presidency

Congress recently forbade President Obama from bringing Guantanamo inmates to the United States, or even preparing a place in the U.S. to which the terrorist prisoners might someday be transferred. The specific action Congress took was to renew earlier bans on the president spending any appropriated funds for those purposes.

Republicans and Democrats spoke in a strong and unified voice; 370 members of the House and 91 members of the Senate voted for the defense authorization bill that contained the Guantanamo provision. Other than a measure passed by unanimous consent, it's hard to find Congress more united.

Obama signed the bill into law, but at the same time released a signing statement making clear he might bring Guantanamo prisoners to the United States anyway — no matter what Congress says.

"The restrictions contained in this bill concerning the detention facility at Guantanamo are … unwarranted and counterproductive," Obama wrote. "As I have said repeatedly, the executive branch must have the flexibility, with regard to the detainees who remain at Guantanamo, to determine when and where to prosecute them, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests, and when and where to transfer them consistent with our national security and our humane treatment policy."