Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Ruling on the Padilla case

From US District Court:
PADILLA, Petitioner vs. COMMANDER C.T. HANFT, USN Commander, Consolidated Naval Brig, Respondent.

Certainly Respondent does not intend to argue here that, just because the President states that Petitioner's detention is "consistent with the laws of the United States, including the Authorization for Use of Military Force" that makes it so. Not only is such a statement in direct contravention to the well settled separation of powers doctrine, it is simply not the law. Moreover, such a statement is deeply troubling. If such a position were ever adopted by the courts, it would totally eviscerate the limits placed on Presidential authority to protect the citizenry's individual liberties.

Judge Floyd quoting the Civil War case of Ex parte Milligan:

"The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times, and under all circumstances. No doctrine, involving more pernicious consequences, was ever invented by the wit of man than that any of its provisions can be suspended during any of the great exigencies of government. Such a doctrine leads directly to anarchy or despotism, but the theory of necessity on which it is based is false; for the government, within the Constitution, has all the powers granted to it, which are necessary to preserve its existence."

...The President may not unilaterally establish military commissions in wartime "because he is controlled by law, and has his appropriate sphere of duty, which is to execute, not to make, the laws."

And in closing:

"Congress, not the Executive, should control utilization of the war power as an instrument of domestic policy. There are indications that the Constitution did not contemplate that the title Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy will constitute [the President] also Commander-in-Chief of the country, its industries and its inhabitants."

All emphasis mine.

See also the diary Bush Appointee Rules for Enemy Combatant

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