Monday, April 03, 2006

Court refuses to hear Padilla appeal

SCOTUS blog tells us:

The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the appeal of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen held in a military jail for more than three years as an "enemy combatant." The Court, however, declined to dismiss the case as moot, as the Bush Administration had urged. Only three Justices voted to hear the case, according to the order and accompanying opinions. The case was Padilla v. Hanft (05-533).

The decision was a victory for the Bush Administration in one significant sense: by not finding the case to be moot, the Court leaves intact a sweeping Fourth Circuit Court decision upholding the president's wartime power to seize an American inside the U.S. and detain him or her as a terrorist enemy, without charges and -- for an extended period -- without a lawyer. The Court, of course, took no position on whether that was the right result, since it denied review. The Second Circuit Court, at an earlier stage of Padilla's own case, had ruled just the opposite of the Fourth Circuit, denying the president's power to seize him in the U.S. and hold him. That ruling, though, no longer stands as a precedent, since the Supreme Court earlier shifted Padilla's case from the Second to the Fourth Circuit.


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