UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DECISIONS ON-LINE

RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE v. PADILLA et al., 542 U.S. 426

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RUMSFELD, SECRETARY OF DEFENSE v. PADILLA et al.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE SECOND CIRCUIT

No. 03-1027. Argued April 28, 2004--Decided June 28, 2004

Respondent Padilla, a United States citizen, was brought to New York for detention in federal criminal custody after federal agents apprehended him while executing a material witness warrant issued by the District Court for the Southern District of New York (Southern District) in connection with its grand jury investigation into the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorist attacks. While his motion to vacate the warrant was pending, the President issued an order to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld designating Padilla an "enemy combatant" and directing that he be detained in military custody. Padilla was later moved to a Navy brig in Charleston, S. C., where he has been held ever since. His counsel then filed in the Southern District a habeas petition under 28 U. S. C. §2241, which, as amended, alleged that Padilla's military detention violates the Constitution, and named as respondents the President, the Secretary, and Melanie Marr, the brig's commander. The Government moved to dismiss, arguing, inter alia, that Commander Marr, as Padilla's immediate custodian, was the only proper respondent, and that the District Court lacked jurisdiction over her because she is located outside the Southern District. That court held that the Secretary's personal involvement in Padilla's military custody rendered him a proper respondent, and that it could assert jurisdiction over the Secretary under New York's long-arm statute, notwithstanding his absence from the District. On the merits, the court accepted the Government's contention that the President has authority as Commander in Chief to detain as enemy combatants citizens captured on American soil during a time of war. The Second Circuit agreed that the Secretary was a proper respondent and that the Southern District had jurisdiction over the Secretary under New York's long-arm statute. The appeals court reversed on the merits, however, holding that the President lacks authority to detain Padilla militarily.

Held:


Full Text of Opinion


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