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Padilla: SCOTUS refuses to hear case
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, April 04, 2006

The story claims a "significant victory" has been won by the Bush administration concerning its ability to hold those classified as "enemy combatants" indefinitely, even those who are US citizens captured on US soil:
The justices voted 6-3 not to review the case of Jose Padilla, one of the most high-profile cases testing the administration’s anti-terrorism powers in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Mr Padilla, a US citizen captured in Chicago, was held in military detention without charges for three years before the government decided to try him in the civilian court system.

The shift to try Mr Padilla as a civilian was widely criticised as an attempt by the administration to avoid a Supreme Court review of the case, and the tactic appears to have worked.

Three justices who held the balance of power in the case – Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Anthony Kennedy and Justice John Paul Stevens – took the unusual step of issuing an opinion to justify their refusal to hear the case, focusing on the fact that Mr Padilla is no longer being held as an enemy combatant.

“Any consideration of what rights he might be able to assert if he were returned to military custody would be hypothetical, and to no effect, at this stage of the proceedings,” Justice Kennedy wrote for the three men, noting that civilian custody was “part of the relief he sought, and that its lawfulness is uncontested”.
It appears to be more of an avoidance of the subject by the court than a victory for the Bush administration. Essentially saying "we don't rule on hypotheticals", the majority agreed that since Padilla had already gotten the relief for which he was petitioning the court, there was no reason to hear the case.

However at least one justice made it clear that if Padilla's circumstances change to where he is again classified as an "enemy combatant" and remanded to military custody after the trial, the court might consider hearing an appeal:
Justice Kennedy acknowledged that Mr Padilla “has a continuing concern” that he might be reclassified as an enemy combatant but said that concern “can be addressed if the necessity arises”. But he also issued a veiled warning to the government not to return Mr Padilla to the military, and invited him to bring his appeal straight back to the Supreme Court if they did so. At the moment, no US citizens are being held as enemy combatants.
While the refusal to hear a case in which the desired outcome has already occurred is understandable, at some point this situation needs to be settled by the court. While I have no use for Padilla or his cause, there are certain guarantees which come with US citizenship. In the future, the court needs to take the opportunity, if presented, to ensure them.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
While one may worry about the current administration’s encroachments upon the protections of the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights, the court’s decision makes it clear that if a citizen commits treason by attempting to take arms against this country, that the Supreme Court has little interest in buffering that citizen from the anger of the peoples’ representative, the elected President of the United States... It would behoove those citizens with the desire to express their allegiance to a foreign power by overt action against the other citizens of this country to pause for considered thought of the consequences...

Dennis
 
Written By: Dennis
URL: http://
I don’t think that’s the point at all, Dennis. No one is denying he should pay the piper for his actions or activities. The question is whether the government can get away with holding him indefinitely without charging or trying him.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Why cert was denied can be analyzed from so many angles, one could write a treatise on the subject. (For instance, why Stevens didn’t vote to grant cert can is a multi-layered question.) I continue to adhere (till my death) that no matter how bad things get, one should always be on the side of the incarcerated to get his day in court.

But what is truly sad is that this is only the third comment on this subject, while the post on the Congresswoman from Georgia got 88.

Sad. Frightening might be a better word.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
But what is truly sad is that this is only the third comment on this subject, while the post on the Congresswoman from Georgia got 88.
Relax, MK, everything is not grist for your paranoia. The McKinney post was highlighted by Google News, so it got a lot of direct readers anxious to comment on that specific case.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
6-3, the justices refused to hear the case because it was moot. End of discussion in the court.

Is it right? Doesn’t matter.
 
Written By: Sharon
URL: http://

 
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