The appeals court had previously ruled that judges did not have the authority to release the Guantanamo detainees to live inside the United States.

Re-examine case

The supreme court justices said on Monday that the lower court should re-examine the case.

Last year, the Obama administration said it was considering freeing the Uighurs to live in the US, but a political firestorm erupted, with many members of congress strongly opposing such a transfer.

The seven detainees who made the appeal are the only Uighurs who remain at Guantanamo, and they have all been cleared of any wrongdoing.

Switzerland recently said it would take two of the Uighurs while the Pacific island nation of Palau and another, unidentified, nation have offered to take the other five.

The Uighurs are a Turkic Muslim ethnic minority from China's far western Xinjiang region.

They are linguistically and culturally distinct from China's dominant Han ethnic group, and many Uighurs seek greater autonomy for the region and some want independence.

China has consistently cracked down on what it calls violent separatist activities in the region.

China wants the Uighurs sent home, but the detainees and the US government fear for how they will be treated if they are sent back.