The Bush administration asked the Supreme Court today to allow for the immediate transfer of Jose Padilla from a military brig to civilian custody to stand trial on terrorism charges, challenging an appellate court ruling last week that blocked the move...(snip)
The appeals court said that the Bush administration, in charging Mr. Padilla in criminal court in November after jailing him for more than three and a half years as an enemy combatant without charges, gave the appearance that it was trying to manipulate the court system to prevent the Supreme Court from hearing the case. And it warned that the maneuvering could harm the administration's credibility in the courts...(snip)
In unusually caustic language, the solicitor general said that the Fourth Circuit did not have the authority to "disregard a presidential directive." And he said its decision blocking Mr. Padilla's transfer "is based on a mischaracterization of events and an unwarranted attack on the exercise of Executive discretion, and, if given effect, would raise profound separation-of-powers concerns."
From the Washington Post on 12/22/05:
Some lawyers said high court involvement might be inevitable because it would be difficult for the administration to defy an appellate court and transfer Padilla at a time when it faces criticism over a secret domestic spying program and other parts of its counterterrorism efforts...(snip)
Although the Justice Department asked the 4th Circuit for permission to take custody of Padilla, the department maintained that it does not need that permission. Even the 4th Circuit acknowledged yesterday that the issue is "unclear."(snip)
"Obviously, the court feels very stung by being presented with what it thought to be a serious and heartfelt argument by the administration [to hold Padilla originally], only to learn it would turn on a dime," said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.
How strongly does Justice believe that they do not need the 4th's permission,
if they are now asking permission from the Supreme Court? Is SCOTUS a pushover on this matter? What do the justices' varying opinions in Hamdi imply?
Also see Jurist-Paper Chase for Padilla's recent request for Supreme Court review of his case.