Circuits Challenge Bush's Anti-Terror Authority

The Bush administration was dealt a pair of stinging rebukes Thursday as federal appeals courts in New York and California challenged the president's right to designate American citizens as enemy combatants and the government's right to hold detainees in Guantanamo Bay without access to the courts.

In New York, a divided 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the release of alleged al-Qaida associate Jose Padilla, who had been held in a naval brig in South Carolina since President George W. Bush ordered his transfer from civilian custody in 2002. The three-member panel said the president does not have the power to detain as an enemy combatant an American citizen seized on U.S. soil outside the zone of combat.

In California, the 9th Circuit ruled 2-1 that the more than 600 detainees at a military base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, are within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States, and therefore a California district court has jurisdiction to hear a petition for a writ of habeas corpus filed by a relative of one of the detainees.

Details here from the New York Law Journal via