Court Rules U.S. Can Indefinitely Detain Citizens in Wartime

The kicker for me was the last paragraph:

The decision was written by Judge J. Michael Luttig, who is one of a number of people under consideration by President Bush for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A revised article from the Washington Post:
Court Rules U.S. Can Indefinitely Detain Citizens in Wartime
Ruling Comes in the Case of ‘Enemy Combatant’ Jose Padilla
By Jerry Markon, Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 9, 2005; 4:12 PM

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 during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks.


The decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit came in the case of Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who was arrested in Chicago in 2002 and designated an “enemy combatant” by President Bush. The government contends that Padilla trained at al Qaeda camps and was planning to blow up apartment buildings in the United States.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen, has been held without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three years, and his case triggered a legal battle with vast implications for civil liberties and the fight against terrorism.

Attorneys for Padilla and a host of civil liberties organizations blasted the detention as illegal and said it could lead to the military being allowed to hold anyone, from protesters to people who check out what the government considers the wrong books from the library.

Federal prosecutors asserted that Bush not only had the authority to order Padilla’s detention but that such power is essential to preventing attacks. In its ruling today, the 4th Circuit overturned a lower court and came down squarely on the government’s side.

A congressional resolution after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks “provided the President all powers necessary and appropriate to protect American citizens from terrorist attacks by those who attacked the United States on Sept. 11,” the decision said. “Those powers include the power to detain identified and committed enemies such as Padilla, who associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban regime, who took up arms against this Nation in its war against these enemies, and who entered the United States for the avowed purpose of further prosecuting that war by attacking American citizens.”

The ruling by a three-judge panel limits the President’s power to detain Padilla to the duration of hostilities against al Qaeda, but the Bush administration has said that war could go on indefinitely.

The decision was written by Judge J. Michael Luttig, who is one of a number of people under consideration by President Bush for nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.
© 2005 The Washington Post Company

Bookmark and Share

Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Court Rules U.S. Can Indefinitely Detain Citizens in Wartime

  1. BlueWashington says:

    EVERYONE-

    WE ALL SHOULD BE SCARED OVER THIS!!!