Court Watch - POSTED: 2007/02/20 13:19
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Tuesday that provisions in the Military Commissions Act stripping foreign nationals held as "enemy combatants" of the right to file habeas corpus petitions challenging their detentions do not violate the Suspension Clause of the US Constitution. The ruling came in the consolidated cases of hundreds of Guantanamo Bay detainees. The court also held that Congress was clear in its intent to strip federal courts of habeas jurisdiction even in pending challenges. The DC Circuit vacated the lower court decisions in the cases and dismissed the detainees' petitions for lack of jurisdiction.
President Bush signed the MCA into law last October and shortly thereafter the the US Justice Department sent letters to the DC district and appeals courts, notifying the lower court that it no longer had jurisdiction over some 200 pending cases filed by Guantanamo detainees, and urging the appeals court to reach the merits in the present cases. Tuesday's appeals court ruling is expected to be appealed to the US Supreme Court.