Good news on the Supreme Court front:
A divided Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Jose Padilla, held as an enemy combatant without traditional legal rights for more than three years, sidestepping a challenge to Bush administration wartime detention powers.
Padilla was moved in January to Miami to face criminal charges, and the government argued that the appeal over his indefinite detention was now pointless.
Three justices said the court should have agreed to take up the case anyway: Justices David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.
I didn’t know the definition of “divided” is by a 2:1 margin. Gotta love our “unbiased” press.
Padilla had already been transferred to the US judicial system so they saw no need to get involved, as they shouldn’t have.
“In light of the previous changes in his custody status and the fact that nearly four years have passed since he first was detained, Padilla, it must be acknowledged, has a continuing concern that his status might be altered again,” Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for himself, Stevens and Roberts. “That concern, however, can be addressed if the necessity arises.”
Nothing stunning here.
The ScotusBlog also weighed in on the Kennedy’s opinion:
If the Administration were to attempt to return Padilla to military custody — for example, after an acquittal on the criminal charges — or if the Defense Department were to detain indefinitely another citizen captured in the United States, Justice Kennedy has sent a strong signal that such a move would be met with disfavor:
Were the Government to seek to change the status or conditions of Padilla?’s custody, [the district] court would be in a position to rule quickly on any responsive filings submitted by Padilla. In such an event, the District Court, as well as other courts of competent jurisdiction, should act promptly to ensure that the office and purposes of the writ of habeas corpus are not compromised. Padilla, moreover, retains the option of seeking a writ of habeas corpus in this Court.
This warning has significant implications, not only if Padilla is acquitted, but also before his trial. So long as the Government could threaten Padilla with a return to indefinite military detention, it held a powerful stick in plea negotiations, which could be used to induce Padilla to plead guilty, and/or to weaken the terms of any plea agreement. But in light of Justice Kennedy’s shot across the bow, Padilla has some leverage that he otherwise might not have had.
Come on, does the writer actually believe that after the Administration transferred him into civilian custody that they would transfer him back to gitmo?? Sometimes these people buy into the Sean Penn/George Clooney view of the world a bit too much.