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Boumediene v. Bush

Supreme Court of the United States

December 5, 2007, Argued; June 12, 2008 1 

(No. 06-1195), (No. 06-1196)

Opinion

 [*732]  [**2240]  Justice Kennedy delivered the opinion of the Court.

Petitioners are aliens designated as enemy combatants and detained at the United States Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. There are others detained there, also aliens, who are not parties to this suit.

Petitioners present a question not resolved by our earlier cases relating to the detention of aliens at Guantanamo: whether they have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus, a privilege not to be withdrawn except in conformance with the Suspension Clause, Art. I, § 9, cl. 2. We hold these petitioners do have the habeas corpus privilege. Congress has enacted a  [***57] statute, the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005  [*733]  (DTA), 119 Stat. 2739,  [****22] that provides certain procedures for review of the detainees' status. We hold that those procedures are not an adequate and effective substitute for habeas corpus. Therefore § 7 of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), 28 U.S.C. § 2241(e), operates as an unconstitutional suspension of the writ. We do not address whether the President has authority to detain these petitioners nor do we hold that the writ must issue. These and other questions regarding the legality of the detention are to be resolved in the first instance by the District Court.

Under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), § 2(a), 115 Stat. 224, note following 50 U.S.C. § 1541, the President is authorized "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."

In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507, 124 S. Ct. 2633, 159 L. Ed. 2d 578 (2004),  [****23] five Members of the Court recognized that detention of individuals who fought against the United States in Afghanistan "for the [**2241]  duration of the particular conflict in which they were captured, is so fundamental and accepted an incident to war as to be an exercise of the 'necessary and appropriate force' Congress has authorized the President to use." Id., at 518, 124 S. Ct. 2633, 159 L. Ed. 2d 578 (plurality opinion of O'Connor, J.); id., at 588-589, 124 S. Ct. 2633, 159 L. Ed. 2d 578 (Thomas, J., dissenting). After Hamdi, the Deputy Secretary of Defense established Combatant Status Review Tribunals (CSRTs) to determine whether individuals detained at Guantanamo were "enemy combatants," as the Department defines that term. See App. to Pet. for Cert. in No. 06-1195, p 81a. A later memorandum established procedures to implement the  [*734]  PCSRTs. See App. to Pet. for Cert. in No. 06-1196, p 147. The Government maintains these procedures were designed to comply with the due process requirements identified by the plurality in Hamdi.  See Brief for Federal Respondents 10.

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553 U.S. 723 *; 128 S. Ct. 2229 **; 171 L. Ed. 2d 41 ***; 2008 U.S. LEXIS 4887 ****; 76 U.S.L.W. 4406; 21 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 329

LAKHDAR BOUMEDIENE, et al., Petitioners v. GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES, et al. KHALED A. F. AL ODAH, next friend of FAWZI KHALID ABDULLAH FAHAD AL ODAH, et al. v. UNITED STATES et al.

Prior History:  [****1] ON WRITS OF CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT.

Boumediene v. Bush, 476 F.3d 981, 375 U.S. App. D.C. 48, 2007 U.S. App. LEXIS 3682 (2007)

Disposition: Reversed and remanded.

CORE TERMS

detainees, habeas corpus, cases, enemy, territory, detention, combatants, detained, aliens, Suspension, military, courts, sovereignty, Appeals, rights, abroad, tribunal, writ of habeas corpus, sovereign, circumstances, district court, proceedings, common-law, imprisoned, petitioners', political branch, confinement, protections, adequate substitute, witnesses

Governments, Federal Government, Executive Offices, Military & Veterans Law, Armed Forces, Organization, US President, Criminal Law & Procedure, Habeas Corpus, Jurisdiction, Military Justice, Military Commissions & Tribunals, Constitutional Law, Congressional Duties & Powers, Suspension Clause, Relations Among Governments, General Overview, State & Territorial Governments, Relations With Governments, Federal Territory & New States, Jurisdiction, Cognizable Issues, Civil Procedure, Preliminary Considerations, Federal & State Interrelationships, Abstention, Appeals, Reviewability of Lower Court Decisions, Legislation, Interpretation, Review, Standards of Review, Deference, Procedure, Scope of Review, Case or Controversy, Constitutionality of Legislation, Procedural Defenses, Exhaustion of Remedies, The Judiciary, Political Questions, The Presidency