Tuesday, June 29, 2004

U.S. Supreme Court rulings

The big news of the day is that the Supreme Court has ruled on three cases regarding detainees from the war on terror. The verdicts appear to be a setback for the administration.

In Rumsfeld v. Padilla, the courts ruled on a technical issue, that the defendant Jose Padilla filed his petition in the wrong court. He is being detained in Charleston, South Carolina, but he filed suit in the Southern District of New York, where a warrant was first issued. The court seemed to feel that he was 'forum shopping.'

In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rasul v. Bush, the court said that all prisoners, citizens or not, retain rights to at least a legal hearing if they are held in an area controlled by American forces. (The administration contended that Guantanamo Bay was technically under Cuban Sovereignty, even though America has jurisdiction and control there.) Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (bless her!) wrote "We have long since made clear that a state of war is not a blank check for the President when it comes to the rights of the nation's citizens." The difference between the two cases was that Yaser Esam Hamdi is a United States citizen, while Shafiq Rasul and his fifteen co-petitioners are foreign citizens.

There's lots of coverage of the cases: The rulings are available here, here, and here. The New York Times and Washington Post also have detailed reports.

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