Two judges on a three-judge panel were skeptical of claims made by government lawyers that the US Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia Circuit had no jurisdiction over the prison at a US Navy base in Cuba.
The judges indicated that lower courts should allow detainees to challenge forced feedings. A decision is likely weeks or months away, yet their posture leaves open the possibility for a new challenge to how the US treats Guantanamo prisoners.
Many US judges have concluded in the past that forced feedings in domestic prisons violate the Constitutional rights of inmates to control their bodies and to privacy, yet they have also found that prisons are allowed to keep order however operators see fit.
Currently, 164 detainees are held at the prison - about half of which have been cleared for release or transfer but remain incarcerated.