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Justices urged to hear Padilla case

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

    I wouldn't be putting money on them hearing this (non)case.


    WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Attorneys for terror suspect Jose Padilla have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether his detention as an "enemy combatant" is constitutional.

    The Justice Department previously asked the high court not to hear the case, arguing that since he has been charged with a crime -- as his lawyers had sought -- "the case is moot."

    Padilla, an American citizen, was arrested in May 2002 and later designated by the president as an enemy combatant.

    A federal grand jury in Florida indicted Padilla last month on charges of conspiracy to murder and maim people as well as material support for terrorism.

    The charges were brought days before a deadline for the government to file its brief on whether the Supreme Court should hear the case.

    The appeals court questioned why the government alleged facts in the indictment that differed from the allegations it cited to detain Padilla as an enemy combatant.

    The entire time Padilla has been held militarily, Bush administration officials have contended he was an associate of al Qaeda who had plotted in the United States either to detonate a "dirty bomb" or blow up apartment buildings with natural gas.

    The indictment in Florida includes no mention of such allegations, though the terrorism conspiracy charges are serious enough that they could bring a life sentence.

    "Far from making the case less worthy of review, the government's actions highlight the need for this court to grant certiorari to preserve the vital checks and balances that the Framers intended," Padilla's attorneys argued in a brief filed Tuesday.

    Part of the defense argument centers on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and its September ruling that sided with the Bush administration and found Padilla's detention constitutional. He is being held in a military brig in Charleston, South Carolina.

    Last week, however, the same court refused to turn aside its ruling as the government had urged -- since Padilla now was facing criminal charges -- and also denied a request to transfer him from military custody.

    The appeals court judges seemed to indicate the Padilla case was one that the Supreme Court should hear.

    In their legal papers, Padilla's attorneys argued "the plain purpose" of bringing the indictment against him "is to deter this court from scrutinizing the legal basis for Padilla's detention."

    Government officials have denied that the timing of the charges was an attempt to avoid Supreme Court review.

    Padilla's attorneys argue that the indictment does not lessen the need for the Supreme Court to determine the legality of the detention, and they point out he could be transferred back to military custody at any time.

    The attorneys also refer in their brief to the ongoing controversy about President Bush's authorization of the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on communications inside the United States so long as the end of the communication is overseas.

    They asked the Supreme Court to address Padilla's detention since it involves fundamental constitutional questions of how much authority was granted to the president in a post-September 11 congressional resolution authorizing the use of military force to retaliate.

    Government lawyers have used that resolution as legal justification for the detention of enemy combatants and the NSA program.

    "The government continues to defend this sweeping view of the president's power to substitute military rule for the rule of law," the attorneys wrote, "and seeks now to expand it further, arguing the very authorities that it says justify the indefinite detention without charge of citizens also justify widespread spying on citizens without judicial warrant or congressional notification."

    The justices are expected to decide next month whether to take the Padilla case.
  2. Camp David

    Camp David member

    The high court should hear whether a stay on Padilla's execution is warranted, but this terrorist's detention is not a subject rising to Supreme Court level...
  3. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

    I expect you're right, Rick. Wouldn't want to set a legal precedant now, would we?
  4. WayneConrad

    WayneConrad Well-Known Member

    "Terrorist" according to the gummit boys, that is. Is it alright to have your rights, or the rights of any American citizen, suspended based only upon the government's word?
  5. Biker

    Biker Well-Known Member

  6. ceetee

    ceetee Well-Known Member

    Ever'body knows that terrorists don't deserve no dad-blamed "rights"...
  7. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    Three years after the arrest? That's a Stalinist way to treat an American citizen!
  8. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Well-Known Member

    It isn't? Why not?

    The problem is that he has not been convicted of any crime. Is he a terrorist? Possibly. A prepondrance of evidence suggests that he is a genuine scumbag ... but he was arrested and held (for a long time without access to legal counsel) solely because someone pointed and said "He's a terrorist."

    If it can happen to one citizen, it can happen to any citizen. The Constitution has not been formally abolished ... therefore, the gummint should abide by it. If he's such a bad person, they should bring charges and convict him.

    Oh, that's right ... they finally charged him, didn't they? Except that what they have now charged him with is entirely unrelated to the allegations made when they first arrested and incarcerated him.

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