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Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case

by TChris

After arguing that the government is entitled to hold Jose Padilla as an enemy combatant, the Justice Department decided to prosecute him on criminal charges, much to the displeasure of the Fourth Circuit, which wondered whether the Justice Department changed its theory to avoid Supreme Court review of Padilla's claim that his detention as an enemy combatant was unconstitutional. If so, the strategy succeeded. The Court decided today, by a 6-3 vote, not to review Padilla's case.

In dissent (pdf), Justice Ginsberg pointed out that the government hadn't retracted its assertion of authority to detain indefinitely a U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil based on an "Executive declaration" that the detainee was an enemy combatant at the time of his arrest. She considered the issue ripe for decision despite the government's flip-flop.

Although the Government has recently lodged charges against Padilla in a civilian court, nothing prevents the Executive from returning to the road it earlier constructed and defended.

Justices Souter and Breyer also dissented from the decision to deny review.

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    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 09:54:19 AM EST
    Reason has become a scarce commodity in the SC as this case cries out for review. Do we feel safe now? Statistically we are more safe from terror attack than being pulled off the street at the presidents pleasure. Makes you think about the nature of 'terrorism' and who the biggest threat to America really is.

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#2)
    by Punchy on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 10:12:16 AM EST
    From a pure legal standpoint I ask this question: What then prevents the Pres. from labeling anyone an "enemy combatant" and hold them indefinitely? And when challenged, then charge criminally, so prevent a legal challenge? When said person is found innocent criminally, why wouldn't the Pres. have the power to repeat the process? Isn't the President, if allowed to unilaterally declare anyone a "EC", legally a dictator? I understand that this scenerio is unlikely, but from a pure legal standpoint, isn't this the end result? Isn't this what the 4th COA realized was happening?

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#3)
    by marty on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 11:02:55 AM EST
    "What then prevents the Pres. from labeling anyone an "enemy combatant" and hold them indefinitely?" ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! This fact seems to escape too many people. I expect the Bush ass-kissers not to get it, but how many people realize that this is exactly the case the Administration is making....that the President's power to declare who is an "enemy combatant" (a term made up precisely to avoid liability for war crimes) is "not subject to review by any court". Wake up, folks.........we are in the grip of a dictatorship now and it's getting worse by the day.

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 11:16:56 AM EST
    The most frightening aspect of this recent Supreme Court action is that it leaves the 4th Circuit decision backing the administration in place. They have said that Padilla's detention is OK, and the venue rule of habeas petitions established in Padilla's first U.S. Supreme Court opinion, means that the U.S. can always choose to detain people in South Carolina where the 4th Circuit Padilla precedent is binding law. Insuring defeat for any habeas petitioner there absent losing litigation at the trial court and appellate court level followed by a win at the U.S. Supreme Court level. Direct habeas petitions to the U.S. Supreme Court are really the only viable review for anyone in Padilla's shoes again. Padilla's fellow prisoner, Mr. Al-Marri, by the way, is still detained as an enemy combatant in South Carolina. He is not a U.S. citizen, and contrary to prior rulings of the U.S. Supreme Court on the matter, the District Court has held that he lacks the habeas rights of a similarly situated U.S. citizen (which according to the 4th Circuit are basically nil anyway).

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 11:36:28 AM EST
    The next group of EC are easy enough to predict as this admin announces their new front...us.
    America's war on the web While the US remains committed to hunting down al-Qaeda operatives, it is now taking the battle to new fronts. Deep within the Pentagon, technologies are being deployed to wage the war on terror on the internet, in newspapers and even through mobile phones. Investigations editor Neil Mackay ... The Pentagon has already signed off $383 million to force through the document's recommendations by 2009. Military and intelligence sources in the US talk of "a revolution in the concept of warfare". The report orders three new developments in America's approach to warfare: lFirstly, the Pentagon says it will wage war against the internet in order to dominate the realm of communications, prevent digital attacks on the US and its allies, and to have the upper hand when launching cyber-attacks against enemies. ...more Freedom of speech advocates are horrified at this new doctrine, but military planners and members of the intelligence community embrace the idea as a necessary development in modern combat. full article linked abovereports


    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 12:05:02 PM EST
    The situation is particularly frightening given the extravagant charges originally made against Padilla in the press, as opposed to the very limited charges he's actually being tried for. This means the president can imprison anyone on the basis of fantasy, and we know there's no shortage of fantasy in this administration.

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#7)
    by wg on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 03:35:05 PM EST
    Say if somebody could get Bush people to throw Bill Mahler, Noam Chomsky or Andy Goodman in a military brig for a year or two for undermining the authority of the Commander in Chief in the time of war and thus proving overt material assistance to terrorists. Wouldn't that finally get Scalia, Alito, Roberts, Thomas to see the error of their ways? Or am I dreaming?

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#8)
    by wg on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 03:49:15 PM EST
    on a more serious note - it is rather clear that this had little to do with Padilla, establishing a precedent was the real reason for this exercise.

    Re: Supreme Court Won't Hear Padilla Case (none / 0) (#9)
    by scarshapedstar on Mon Apr 03, 2006 at 04:01:57 PM EST
    Shameful.