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BREAKING NEWS ~ Federal appeals court OKs Padilla indefinite detention

[JURIST] AP is reporting that the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals has denied the habeas appeal of Jose Padilla [JURIST news archive], ruling that the "dirty bomb" suspect can be detained without charges indefinitely. Padilla's attorneys had challenged his designation as an enemy combatant.

Previously in JURIST's Paper Chase...

10:51 AM ET - The Fourth Circuit ruling overturns a lower court decision [PDF text; JURIST report] requiring the Bush administration to charge Padilla or release him. Padilla, a US citizen, is suspected of planning attacks on the US using "dirty bomb" radiological devices. The US Supreme Court considered Padilla's case in 2004, but dismissed the case on jurisdictional grounds [opinion, JURIST report], saying the lawsuit was improperly filed in New York. Padilla subsequently refiled his lawsuit [JURIST report] in South Carolina. The Fourth Circuit said Friday that the president has the authority to indefinitely detain a US citizen who is closely associated with al Qaeda. AP has more. Human Rights First has a collection of case documents from the Padilla lawsuits.

11:15 AM ET - The Fouth Circuit wrote in its opinion:
The Congress of the United States, in the Authorization for Use of Military Force Joint Resolution, provided the President all powers necessary and appropriate to protect American citizens from terrorist acts by those who attacked the United States on September 11, 2001. As would be expected, and as the Supreme Court has held, 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 and targets on our own soil -– a power without which, Congress understood, the President could well be unable to protect American citizens from the very kind of savage attack that occurred four years ago almost to the day.

The detention of petitioner being fully authorized by Act of Congress, the judgment of the district court that the detention of petitioner by the President of the United States is without support in law is hereby reversed.
Read the full opinion [PDF].

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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