16 Former Federal Judges Say New Legislation 'Unwarranted' to Address Guantanamo Detainee Habeas Rights

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Matthew Allee, (202) 580-6922 or mallee@constitutionproject.org
Brenda Bowser Soder, (202) 370-3323 or bowsersoderb@humanrightsfirst.org

16 Former Federal Judges Say New Legislation 'Unwarranted' to Address Guantanamo Detainee Habeas Rights

At Two Year Anniversary of Supreme Court's Decision in Boumediene, Review of Litigation Demonstrates Courts' Ability to Handle Guantanamo Cases

WASHINGTON - Congress does not need
to pass new legislation to guide federal courts in their review of habeas
cases in which individuals at the Guantanamo Bay detention facility
challenge the lawfulness of their detention, according to a new report
endorsed by sixteen former federal judges released today by two leading
rights organizations, the Constitution Project and Human Rights
First. In the report, Habeas Works: Federal Courts' Proven Capacity
to Handle Guantanamo Cases
, the former federal judges conclude that
attacks on the judiciary's ability to review habeas cases are
unfounded, as are calls for Congressional intervention. Simply put, the
report finds, habeas is working.  

The report marks the
second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Boumediene v.
Bush
, which laid the ground for District Court judges to review habeas
cases of the Guantanamo detainees and develop the constitutional
framework for reviewing cases. The report examines how the courts have
moved deliberately and thoughtfully in developing an effective
jurisprudence in habeas cases that addresses the government's
interest in national security, while protecting the right of prisoners
to fairly challenge their detention.  

The report, Habeas
Works
, concludes:

"The
Guantanamo litigation has tested the judiciary as it has tested the
nation. But the judiciary, like the country and the Constitution it
serves, has risen to the challenge. As former judges, we do not doubt
for an instant that Congress has the power, within constitutional
limits, to draft a detailed code that would set this litigation on yet a
new direction. Congress could, within limits, write a new detention
standard for the courts to apply. Congress could, within limits, write
different procedural rules to govern this litigation. But such a course
is at once unwise and unnecessary: unwise because it would bring us back
to square one just when the courts are finally beginning to resolve
these cases; and unnecessary because the federal bench, as it has done
for centuries, is steadily developing a coherent and rational
jurisprudence. Habeas is working."

Habeas Works: Federal Courts' Proven Capacity to
Handle Guantanamo Cases
was endorsed by the following former
federal judges:
  Honorable John J. Gibbons     U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1970-1990

  Honorable Shirley
Hufstedler

     U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
1968-1979

  Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones

     U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1979-2002

  Honorable Thomas D.
Lambros

     U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio,
1967-1995

  Honorable Timothy K. Lewis

     U.S. District Court,
Western District of Pennsylvania, 1991-1992, U.S. Court of Appeals
for the Third Circuit, 1992-1999

  Honorable James K. Logan

    
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, 1977-1998

  Honorable
Abner Mikva

     U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit, 1979-1994

  Honorable Robert P. Murrian

     U.S.
District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, 1978-2002

  Honorable
William A. Norris

     U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
1980-1997

  Honorable Robert J. O'Conor, Jr.

     U.S. District
Court, Southern District of Texas, 1975-1984

  Honorable Stephen
Orlofsky

     U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1995-2003

 
Honorable Raul A. Ramirez

     U.S. District Court, Eastern District
of California, 1980-1989

  Honorable Charles B. Renfrew

     U.S.
District Court, Northern District of California, 1972-1980

 
Honorable H. Lee Sarokin

     U.S. District Court, District of New
Jersey, 1979-1994, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit,
1994-1996

  Honorable William S. Sessions

     U.S. District
Court, Western District of Texas, 1974-1987

  Honorable Alfred M.
Wolin

     U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1987-2004

  To
view Habeas Works: Federal Courts' Proven Capacity to Handle
Guantanamo Cases
, go to: http://www.constitutionproject.org/media.asp?lid=359

###

The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at http://constitutionproject.org/.

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