Supreme Court Grants Review in Al-Marri Enemy Combatant Case

artmarrigiIn an important vote, the Supreme Court has granted review in al-Marri v. Pucciarelli, 08-368. The case will return the issue of enemy combatants back before the Court with a new twist. The case would have to be argued by the Obama Administration, which will be given a clear opportunity to show whether all of the talk about change and civil liberties was just a pitch or true principle.
I will be discussing this case tonight on Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.

The case raises one of the greatest abuses of the Bush Administration: the claim of the President’s near absolute authority to take a person within the United States and strip him of his rights to counsel, courts, and habeas corpus. Ali al-Marri is the only remaining enemy combatant held on U.S. soil.

al-Marri is a Qatar native who was seized in the United States and accused of being an Al Qaeda sleeper agent. He has been held in a Navy brig near Charleston, S.C., for nearly 5 1/2 years. Even the ultra-conservative 4th Circuit split on the issue: recognizing the president’s power but ruling that al-Marri had some procedural rights.

The Bush Administration may not want to risk a “faint praise” argument from the Obama Administration and drop the enemy combatant status for al-Marri — sending him to trial as it did Jose Padilla to avoid a ruling on the merits.
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5 thoughts on “Supreme Court Grants Review in Al-Marri Enemy Combatant Case”

  1. If this gets argued bedore the SCOTUS, maybe POTUS Obama should ask U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan to argue it (instead of firing her).
    I realize the fact that she has no experience at the appellate level might hurt its chances, but …


  2. The following is from the National Lawyers Guild:
    “The Guild opposes the creation of national security courts to try the detainees. Although Obama said in August, “It’s time to better protect the American people and our values by bringing swift and sure justice to terrorists through our courts and our Uniform Code of Military Justice,” three Obama advisers told the Associated Press that the President-elect is expected to propose a new court system to deal with “sensitive national security cases.”…

    President-elect Obama should send those prisoners he intends to try to U.S. civilian and military courts, which are well-suited to protect national security concerns. He should eschew the creation of a new system of courts with reduced due process, which will raise many of the same concerns as Bush’s dreaded military commissions.

  3. tf,

    I would say yes, until Congress amends the language in the Authorization for Use of Military Force bill giving the president ridiculously broad and unspecified powers.

    However, Mr. Obama would be foolish to reverse Bush’s decision and then be in the position of justifying Bush’s initial ‘enemy combatant’ declaration. No thinking person would do that.

    How did so many intelligent Americans hand over so much power to an incompetent imbecile like Mr. Bush? I am a conservative Republican and I can say unequivocally that I despise the man for all of the death and fiscal/infrastructure destruction for which he is responsible.

    Furthermore, I voted for President-elect Obama but I do not want him or any other president to have the level of powers that Mr. Bush now has. Congress must amend those powers soon after the Inauguration

  4. Question: If Bush can move al Marri from enemy combatant to criminal status on pure whim to avoid the Supreme Court ruling on the case, can Obama reverse his status back to enemy combatant to allow the suit to proceed?

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