This afternoon, ACS was excited to welcome Jonathan Hafetz of the
He began by providing an overview of the recent history of
Hafetz focused on
When lawyers became aware of the situation in
The process was then derailed. In December of 2005, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act. It contained some prohibitions on cruel treatment, but its most significant effect was to strip detainees of Federal habeas rights.
In 2006, the Supreme Court decided Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which challenged the legality of using military commissions to try suspects at
Later that same year, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act, which gave legislative approval to the commissions struck down in Hamdan. To deal with the Court’s ruling on the pending habeas cases, the act stripped all habeas rights retroactively and replaced them with a less robust system of adjudication, with the possibility of appeal to the DC Circuit Court.
In February of 2007, the DC Circuit upheld the Military Commissions Act’s suspension of habeas as constitutional because enemy combatants are not
Another important case pending decision pending decision is Boumediene v. Bush, which contains two major issues: (1) the question of whether the constitutional right to habeas corpus is limited to the geographic
These issues are now complicated by separate litigation that has proceeded under the Detainee Treatment Act since its passage. There are now separate petitions for review under the substitute scheme, which itself may be ruled unconstitutional.
A recent DC Circuit ruling expanded their power of review of status tribunal and allowed them to look at all of the relevant evidence that led to a conviction, instead of the more limited record they had previously been sent. An en banc hearing on the case was denied 5-5, and the government has petitioned for cert on an expedited schedule so that the case can be heard this term.
Hafetz believes that the Supreme Court will have to clarify the legal rules in
Clarification of the legal rights of detainees will hopefully lead to some positive change in a dire situation. Before last week, of the 750 inmates that had been at
Thanks to Jonathan Hafetz for this interesting talk!