The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued a highly anticipated decision today on the ability of detainees in military prison at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan to use the habeus corpus process to challenge their detention in U.S. courts. The case is Maqaleh v. Gates. Judge Sentelle, joined in the opinion by Judges Tatel and Edwards, reversed the District Court decision, and concluded:
For the reasons set forth above, we hold that the jurisdiction of the courts to afford the right to habeas relief and the protection of the suspension Clause does not extend to aliens held in Executive detention in the Bagram detention facility in the Afghan theater of war. We therefore reverse the order of the district court denying the motion for dismissal of the United States and order that the petitions be dismissed or lack of jurisdiction.
The unanimous nature of the ruling was particularly interesting, perhaps even surprising, and makes it less likely that an inevitable effort to seek review in the U.S. Supreme Court will succeed.
Washington Legal Foundation released a Legal Backgrounder today on another D.C. Circuit detainee-related ruling, al-Bihani v. Obama.