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January 13, 2006

Government Motion in Hamdan Serious Challenge to Supreme Court Authority

The U.S. Government filed a brief today with the Supreme Court seeking to dismiss the case of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Guantanamo detainee. The case is Hamdan v. Rumseld. In its motion, the government argues that when Congress passed the Graham/Levin/Kyl amendment at the end of 2005 (The Detainee Treatment Act of 2005) it deprived the Supreme Court of the power to hear Hamdan’s case, then already pending in the Court.

“The government’s motion today seeking to deny the Supreme Court the power to review a habeas case it has already taken up to review is one of the most serious challenges to Supreme Court authority since the Civil War,” said Deborah Pearlstein, the Director of the U.S. Law and Security Program of Human Rights First. “The Constitution itself gives the high court the power to hear challenges to the legality of executive detention through the writ of habeas corpus, and neither the President nor Congress can take that away.”