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Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla

In a suprise move, the 4th Circuit has delayed the transfer of Jose Padilla from military custody to civilian custody.

... the three-judge panel said it needs to know whether it should set aside a September opinion that upheld Padilla's military detention before returning him to civilian authorities.

The court said it wants to hear arguments on whether the opinion was to be vacated "as a consequence of the transfer." The judges pointed out that the facts alleged by the government "warranting" Padilla's military detention differed from the charges in the indictment.

Padilla's lawyers are not pleased.

"We're disappointed that Mr. Padilla's transfer to the civilian justice system has been delayed," said Padilla defense attorney Jonathan Freiman, who argued Padilla's case before a South Carolina judge earlier this year.

"The case is pending in the Supreme Court, and we think the Supreme Court should decide whether to address the question of the president's power to detain American citizens seized in a civilian setting in the United States indefinitely and without charges."

The ruling under consideration was favorable to the Government. I would think that if the the 4th Circuit withdraws that ruling, it would be even harder for Padilla to keep his appeal alive in the Supreme Court. It's important for the Supreme Court to address Padilla's issue. As the LA Times opined in Jose Padilla's America,

The Supreme Court should still hear the case, not only for Padilla's sake but for the sake of every American. The most recent lower-court decision on the case, from the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, gives the administration the authority to detain enemy combatants such as Padilla indefinitely. That precedent cannot be allowed to stand.

The question presented in the Padilla case, to paraphrase his brief before the court, is this: Can the president of the United States arrest any U.S. citizen in America and hold him indefinitely without charge in the name of the war against terrorism? As long as this war continues, it is a question that will remain relevant. And it is a question begging for a resounding "no" from the nation's highest court.

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  • Re: Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:33 PM EST
    And it is a question begging for a resounding "no" from the nation's highest court.
    which is exactly why the last thing the bush administration wants is a USSC ruling on the issue. as long as they can keep the supremes out of it, and continue finding sympathetic circuits, they get a free ride. don't be at all surprised if DOJ and the white house push strongly for the 4th to vacate its prior ruling.

    Re: Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla (none / 0) (#2)
    by chemoelectric on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:33 PM EST
    I'd really like to see a Supreme Court ruling against the Bushist executive, to see in what fashion they disobey the ruling, and whether the Bushist legislators even then support this treachery.

    Re: Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla (none / 0) (#3)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:34 PM EST
    Citizenship ain't what it used to be. It used to guarantee certain rights.

    Re: Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla (none / 0) (#4)
    by Sailor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:34 PM EST
    Just like torture and secret prisons, I can't believe this is even a debate, especially among JURISTS! American citizen, locked up w/o effective counsel, in a military prison, w/o charges, for years just 'cause the prez says so!? WTF!? And before some ... ahem... person says 'what about Lincoln?' Lincoln was wrong, and the citizens and the courts said so at the time, even tho it was the most devisive time in American history.

    Re: Judges Delay Transfer of Jose Padilla (none / 0) (#5)
    by kdog on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 01:06:35 PM EST
    WTF is right. It's hard to believe there is even a debate on this issue. The man is an American citizen.