Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Supreme Court has drawn intense attention by agreeing to weigh in for a third time in the ongoing battle between the Bush Administration and Guantanamo Bay detainees over the prisoners' right to bring writs of habeas corpus.
The Court rejected the prisoners' petition for certiorari in April, but reversed course two months later. Observers have speculated that at least one Justice was moved to change his certiorari vote when the detainees' lawyers filed a court paper in the underlying litigation outlining the claims of an Army lawyer that the panels provided as alternates to habeas were "shams."
The consolidated cases, Boumediene v. Bush and Al Odah v. United States, Nos. 06-1195 and 06-1196, represent the ongoing struggle between the executive and legislative branches on the one hand, and the judicial branch on the other, to define the scope of the government's power to conduct the war on terror.
In 2002 Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were seized by Bosnian police when U.S. intelligence officers suspected their involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. embassy there.
The U.S. government classified the men as enemy combatants in the war on terror and detained them at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is located on land that the U.S. leases from Cuba.
Boumediene filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of the Constitution's Due Process Clause, various statutes and treaties, the common law, and international law. The District Court judge granted the government's motion to have all of the claims dismissed on the ground that Boumediene, as an alien detained at an overseas military base, had no right to a habeas petition.
More. . . [Mark Godsey]