Padilla wins—bigtime in the District Court in South Carolina (warning: court site may be overloaded…here is an alternate site).

The government is ordered to release him (or charge him)… but only in 45 days…. I would imagine there will be an appeal…

[updated:] Here's what the court has to say to the government's Yoo-ish argument that the President can order any citizen jailed for whatever reason he wants, even in the face of a Congressional enactment, 18 U.S.C. § 4001(a), that says, “No citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress.”

Accordingly, and limited to the facts of this case, the Court is of the firm opinion that it must reject the position posited by Respondent. To do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country’s constitutional tradition, but it would also be a betrayal of this Nation’s commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties.

For the Court to find for Respondent would also be to engage in judicial activism. This Court sits to interpret the law as it is and not as the Court might wish it to be. Pursuant to its interpretation, the Court finds that the President has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold Petitioner as an enemy combatant.

I could do without the suggestion that the Court “might wish” to see the President enjoy the arbitrary power of detention against any citizen, but however you slice it this is a stinging rebuke of the Administration's awful arguments.

Here's the sole fly in the ointment: “Of course, if appropriate, the Government can bring criminal charges against Petitioner or it can hold him as a material witness.” The material witness statute is itself routinely being abused.

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5 Responses to PADILLA WINS BIG!!!

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  4. Apian says:

    Here’s one I could not understand. Its not Padilla, but the Abu Ali case.

    Injustice, In Secret, Washington Post, Feb 25, 2005

    “The government contends that the legal theory by which it would defend its behavior should be immune from debate in court.”


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