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Counter-Terrorism: Constitutional and Legislative Issues - Essay Example

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Subsequently, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, acting on orders from the President designated Padilla an “enemy combatant” and ordered…
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Counter-Terrorism: Constitutional and Legislative Issues

The petition included Secretary Rumsfeld as respondent. The issue decided by the Court was a jurisdictional question: did Padilla name the proper respondent(s) in his Writ, and if so, did the Southern District Court where the Writ was filed have jurisdiction over the proper respondent(s)? Citing the federal habeas statute, 28 U.S.C Sec. 2242 and 2243, the Supreme Court found that “the default rule is [that] the proper respondent is the warden of the facility [Commander Marr] where the prisoner is being held” (qtd. in Darmer et al., 2004). Furthermore, statutory law, as well as subsequent case law, required that District courts grant habeas relief only within their respective jurisdictions. And since Commander Marr was outside the jurisdiction of the Southern District Court, the Supreme Court ruled that Padilla had not properly filed his Writ and ordered dismissal.
Petitioners “Quirin, Burger, Haupt, Dasch, Kerling, Heinck, Thiel and Neubauer” (“Operation Pastorius.” Wikipedia.org) were German-trained spies smuggled into the US shortly after the beginning of hostilities between the US and Germany on or about June 17, 1942. They were arrested shortly thereafter and pursuant to a Presidential Proclamation were charged before a military tribunal.
Petitioners’ Writ sought the release of petitioners from military custody and trial by jury in a civilian court. The Supreme Court considered two main issues: (1) did the acts charged against the petitioners rightly constitute offences “against the laws of war cognizable before a military tribunal” (qtd. in Darmer et al., 2004) and (2) if so, did their trial before a military board violate the Constitution. The Supreme Court relied on universally agreed distinctions in the laws of war between lawful combatants (uniformed soldiers), who upon capture are required by law to be held as prisoners of war, and unlawful combatants (spies with the intent and ... Read More
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