For Immediate Release
Michael Avery, 617-335-5023
Heidi Boghosian 212-679-5100 ext. 11
National Lawyers Guild Praises Second Circuit Padilla Decision
WASHINGTON - The National Lawyers Guild announced today that it was thrilled with the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Padilla v. Rumsfeld, holding that President Bush does not have the unilateral authority to hold as "enemy combatants" American citizens taken into custody on our soil. Michael Avery, the President of the National Lawyers Guild and a constitutional law professor at Suffolk Law School in Boston, said that several of President Bush's actions in pursuit of the "War on Terrorism" suggest that the President holds the American constitutional system of checks and balances in contempt.
"It is essential in our democracy that the Judicial Branch review the actions of the President and require that he obey the Constitution," Avery said. He continued, "The President has arrogated to himself the right to hold both citizens and immigrants prisoner, without any judicial determination of probable cause that they have committed crimes, without affording them the right to see lawyers, without giving them rudimentary due process of law, and with no prospect of bringing their cases to trial in proper courts. This is completely foreign to our constitutional system. The fact that the court rejected the government's position and ruled in favor of Mr. Padilla's rights is heartening."
The National Lawyers Guild is dedicated to the need for basic and progressive change in the structure of our political and economic system. Through its members--lawyers, law students, jailhouse lawyers and legal workers united in chapters and committees--the Guild works locally, nationally and internationally as an effective political and social force in the service of the people.