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Jun 12 2012

SCOTUS Blesses Indefinite Detention

Another right further diminished by the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Denies 7 Detainee Cases, Leaving Crippling Limits On Detainee Rights In Place

One day before the fourth anniversary of Boumediene v. Bush, which held that detainees being held indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their confinement in federal court, the Supreme Court denied review (pdf) of seven detainee cases that were pending before the court. The decision not to review any of the cases essentially makes the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit the last stop for detainees seeking habeas corpus. While many detainees won their habeas corpus cases at the trial court level, no detainees have been released from Guantanamo due to these decisions because the DC Circuit has a perfect record of reversing these decisions.

Although today’s action does not have any precedential force, it undercuts the extent to which detainees can seriously challenge their detention by leaving the D.C. Circuit’s pro-detention decisions in place [..]

Marcy Wheeler @ emptywheel explains what the Supreme Court has just blessed:

   

  • Holding a person indefinitely for being in the wrong place at the wrong time-including a school, a road, and a guest house-where suspect people are.
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  • Holding a person indefinitely based on an admittedly error-ridden report the government wrote up itself.
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  • Holding a person indefinitely based on pattern analysis.
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  • Completely upending the role of District Court judges in the fact-finding process.
  • The Justices have abdicated their responsibility  to an ever more powerful Executive branch:

    Especially deserving of review was a petition by Adnan Latif, a Yemeni who was captured near the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan in December 2001. Latif said he had traveled to Pakistan to seek medical treatment; the U.S. government insisted that he was a fleeing Taliban fighter.

    A federal district judge ruled in Latif’s favor, concluding that, because of possible transcription and other errors, a government report of an interview with him was “not sufficiently reliable to support a finding by a preponderance of the evidence that Latif was recruited by an Al Qaeda member or trained and fought with the Taliban.” Overturning that finding, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the government’s evidence was entitled to “a presumption of regularity” and that lower court judges should require that a detainee’s “self-serving account must be credible – not just plausible.” In her opinion, Circuit Judge Janice Rogers Brown (a former California Supreme Court justice) approvingly cited dissents in the Boumediene case and referred snidely to its impracticality and “airy suppositions.” [..]

    Dissenting in the Latif case, Judge David Tatel described the decision as an “assault on Boumediene.” At the very least, the ruling called for a full-fledged review by the Supreme Court. Instead, the justices have abdicated their authority and devalued their own achievement.

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    1. TMC

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