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September 09, 2005

Bill of Rights, 1791-2005. RIP.

Washington Post: Court Rules U.S. Can Indefinitely Detain Citizens

A federal appeals court ruled today that the president can indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil in the absence of criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.

[Update: the Washington Post artile has been revised to show that the decision applies only during wartime. Whatever "wartime" is.]

Posted by Chris Clarke at September 9, 2005 08:59 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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I'm not an expert on these cases, but it appears to me that the court is leaning *very* heavily (unjustifiably so) on the Supreme Court's plurality opinion in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld.

If O'Connor is still on the Court when this case goes up, I think there's a good chance it will get reversed or narrowed substantially.

One nitpick -- while this is the way the media is presenting it, the opinion does not say the government may hold Padilla "indefinitely"; it's only for the duration of hostilities with Al Queda. Now, at the rate we're going, I suppose that may amount to the same thing in the end...

Posted by: Mike Anderson at September 9, 2005 09:33 AM
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Posted by: Rana at September 9, 2005 10:30 AM
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Some analysis of the opinion by someone who knows a lot more about this topic than I do:

He thinks the opinion is generally in sync with the Hamdi plurality opinion.

The key, I think, is that Hamdi was only a plurality opinion; the judgment of the Court was to reverse (cutting against broad government power).

Stevens and Scalia would have gone much farther than the majority in terms of rebuffing the government's power in Hamdi. If those two can find a way to make a majority with Souter, Ginsburg and Breyer, then this decision might be overturned.

Posted by: Mike Anderson at September 9, 2005 10:58 AM
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Move over Constitution make way for Fascist leaders. Bush has held an American citizen for three years under the Homeland Security ruse. What happened to a speedy Trial? How long does it take to use evidence acumulated in three years to try an American? Mr. Padilla will join the other Foreign men and women and children who were caught up in the madness after 9/11, because this government wanted to show the American people They were on the job. Yet looking at it anew one can see that this government went after everyone who had nothing to do with 9/11 and next to nothing about going after Osadam Bin laden the amitted perpetrator. If this government is able to stack the Supreme courts with ultra conservative Judges like Judge J.Micheal luttig who wrote this decision against Mr. Padilla and is one of the Judges up for nomination by Bush to the Supreme court. Then I think the Constitution as we know it will be no more. "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin. Shame,Shame on you all who backed this President.

Posted by: Cecilia Nall at September 9, 2005 11:14 AM
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Thanks, Mike, for your illuminating comments. I hope you';re right in your tempered non-resignation about the outcome.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at September 9, 2005 07:51 PM
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We have entered George Orwell's period of 'permanent war.'

"...In "1984," the state remained perpetually at war against a vague and ever- changing enemy. The war took place largely in the abstract, but it served as a convenient vehicle to fuel hatred, nurture fear and justify the regime's autocratic practices..."

Posted by: Don McArthur at September 10, 2005 09:58 AM
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Well, wartime doesn't mean an actual DECLARED war, since there isn't currently one.

So apparently this means the president can decide to indefinitely detain you without charges ONLY if he also has decided to say we're at war with someone or something.

I know you all just breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Come to think of it, this might be just what it takes to get Bush to declare his own "War on Poverty."

Posted by: craig at September 10, 2005 07:57 PM
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