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Levin disputes Bush administration move to dismiss Guantanamo cases

[JURIST] US Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-MI) [official website] has said that the Bush administration cannot use recent legislation [press release] in an attempt to dismiss already filed habeas corpus petitions of Guantanamo Bay detainees [JURIST news archive]. The 2006 defense spending bill [text], signed into law last week, contained the so-called Graham-Levin Amendment [JURIST document] limiting habeas jurisdiction for claims by enemy combatants. The Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] filed notice this week [JURIST report] with federal judges indicating that it would seek to dismiss 186 pending cases based on the new law which strips the courts' jurisdiction to hear the prisoners' cases. Levin, however, disagrees with the administration's attempt to use the legislation retroactively on pending cases since he believes it should only apply to new cases. The new law is worded to "take effect on the date of the enactment" and the DOJ is using the interpretation that this applies to all detainee cases, pending or not yet filed. Levin stated that "the administration is now seeking to end-run the legislative process and achieve a result through the courts that it was unable to obtain in Congress." Thursday's Washington Post has more.

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