2nd Circuit Rules US to Remain a Free Country

It looks from this AP Report as if the 2nd Circuit believes that this is still a free country. The story begins,

“President Bush does not have power to detain American citizen Jose Padilla, the former gang member seized on U.S. soil, as an enemy combatant, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday.

“The decision, which ordered that Padilla be released from military custody within 30 days, could force the government to try the “dirty bomb'' plot suspect in civilian courts.”

The full decision is here and the dissent here.

Having just arrived in the UK, after a slightly delayed journey (the luggage handler serving the second plane broke down when they needed to remove a bag whose owner had not boarded the flight) I'm not even going to try to read them until I get over the jet lag. But I'll sleep better for knowing that the 'Rule of Law' still has some traction in the US. Although 2-1 is a slimmer margin than I'd like. (That the decision sounds, from the AP story, to be based on statutory — or lack of statutory — grounds rather than on the Bill of Rights is not in itself disturbing. Even if this is an atrocious offenese against the Constitution, it's appropriate for courts to rule on the narrowest grounds available. But like I said, I'm not reading it until tomorrow at the earliest.)

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