< /head > Colorado Coalition for Human Rights: Bush Administration Asks Supreme Court to throw out Hamdan Appeal

Friday, January 13, 2006

Bush Administration Asks Supreme Court to throw out Hamdan Appeal

From the Washington Post:

The Bush administration took the unusual step yesterday of asking the Supreme Court to call off a landmark confrontation over the legality of military trials for terrorism suspects, arguing that a law enacted last month eliminates the court's ability to consider the issue.
In a 23-page brief, U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement said the justices should throw out an appeal by Yemeni national Salim Hamdan, an alleged driver and bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, because a new statute governing the treatment of U.S. detainees "removes the court's jurisdiction to hear this action." The brief represents the latest escalation in the showdown between the Bush administration and critics of the government over the legal rights of military detainees captured overseas. Hamdan's case is one of several high-stakes legal battles working their way through the courts, and the Supreme Court's November decision to consider his appeal was a blow to the government.
Hamdan is among approximately 500 inmates held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; nine are scheduled to be tried by "military commissions" created after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Hamdan's lawyers and many civil liberties groups have decried the commissions as unconstitutional and unfairly stacked against defendants. Separately, the administration is trying to eliminate habeas corpus lawsuits filed on behalf of nearly every detainee, saying they have clogged federal courts with frivolous actions. The Supreme Court gave Guantanamo Bay detainees access to federal courts in a 2004 ruling.
The Detainee Treatment Act, principally written by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) and signed into law Dec. 30, is intended to prevent detainees from having access to U.S. courts except in specific circumstances. It outlines a limited system for legal challenges by inmates, allowing them only to appeal the determination that they are enemy combatants to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then, potentially, to the Supreme Court. It also allows anyone convicted in a military commission to appeal that decision.

Click here to read the full article.

--Tom Hayes


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