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Thursday, December 22, 2005

"Justice" Department screws up again; Padilla suffers again

From the NY Times:
A federal appeals court delivered a sharp rebuke to the Bush administration Wednesday, refusing to allow the transfer of Jose Padilla from military custody to civilian law enforcement authorities to face terrorism charges.

In denying the administration's request, the three-judge panel unanimously issued a strongly worded opinion that said the Justice Department's effort to transfer Mr. Padilla gave the appearance that the government was trying to manipulate the court system to prevent the Supreme Court from reviewing the case. The judges warned that the administration's behavior in the Padilla case could jeopardize its credibility before the courts in other terrorism cases.

What made the action by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., so startling, lawyers and others said, was that it came from a panel of judges who in September had provided the administration with a sweeping court victory, saying President Bush had the authority to detain Mr. Padilla, an American citizen, indefinitely without trial as an enemy combatant.
Unfortunately, this doesn't sound like it's of any help to Padilla, or anyone else caught in the "enemy combatant" web. So, he goes back to solitary in military prison, no longer has a court date, and has to wait for the Supremes to do something--something which could very well be even worse, especially if Scalito gets confirmed.

Why is it that in all of these cases where courts rebuff the "Justice" department's Orwellian tactics, the poor supposedly innocent-until-proven-guilty hostage has to continue to rot in jail? Given the charges they finally did come up with for Padilla, it seems as though time served might be about the sentence to be expected if he were convicted.

The "sharp rebuke" goes to the criminal "Justice" department; Padilla goes back to the brig. Some lefty bloggers seem to be gloating over this decision; I don't see any victory here at all. The Fourth Circuit Court is basically insisting on having its earlier totalitarian decision confirmed by the Supremes, and there is no real reason to believe they won't do it.