Monday, April 03, 2006

Padilla appeal denied by SCOTUS

The Supreme Court declined to hear José Padilla's appeal that he was detained illegally, though the decline was based on technical reasons. From the AP:
A divided Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal from Jose Padilla, held as an enemy combatant without traditional legal rights for more than three years, sidestepping a challenge to Bush administration wartime detention powers.

Padilla was moved in January to Miami to face criminal charges, and the government argued that the appeal over his indefinite detention was now pointless.
Those who have been here a while know my take on the whole Padilla situation. Padilla is an American citizen who was detained for three years on the grounds that he was a suspected al Qaeda member/accomplice who was involved in a dirty bomb plot.

During that three year period, he was never charged with anything, but the government argued that they were holding him as an enemy combatant...and therefore didn't have to charge him. I argued "Bullsh#t! He's an American citizen who never renounced his citizenship like Taliban John (John Walker Lindh) did! As an American, he is protected by the Constitution! Charge him for treason, try him, and if he's convicted, then execute him! But he has rights that ALL Americans have!"

The DOJ disagreed, but it became clear that the SCOTUS was going to eventually hear the case, and it would likely rule in Padilla's favor. In order to preempt such a ruling, the government finally charged him.

Today's SCOTUS ruling doesn't vindicate or clear the administration, nor does it answer the question of whether or not such detainments are legal or constitutional. Today's ruling is strictly technical, and all it says is that since Padilla has finally been charged, the appeal is moot. Had he not been charged, they most likely would have taken up the case.

My heart doesn't bleed for Padilla. I think he's guilty as hell and needs to fry for what he's done. However, as an American citizen, he is entitled to a fair trial...period.