For Immediate Release
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
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
Honorable John J. Gibbons U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Third Circuit, 1970-1990
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
Honorable Nathaniel R. Jones
U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 1979-2002
Honorable Thomas D.
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio,
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
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Honorable Robert P. Murrian
District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, 1978-2002
William A. Norris
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit,
Honorable Robert J. O'Conor, Jr.
Court, Southern District of Texas, 1975-1984
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
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,
Honorable William S. Sessions
Court, Western District of Texas, 1974-1987
Honorable Alfred M.
U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1987-2004
view Habeas Works: Federal Courts' Proven Capacity to Handle
Guantanamo Cases, go to: http://www.
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