FOURTH CIRCUIT DENIES GOVERNMENT’S MOTION
IN PADILLA CASE
In a memorandum opinion released hours ago, the Fourth Circuit has rejected the government’s motion to transfer suspected terrorist Jose Padilla to civilian law enforcement officials. The government had simultaneously asked the court to vacate its September 9 ruling in favor of Padilla on the grounds that a transfer to civilian authorities would moot the appeal.
Noting that the matter is now pending before the Supreme Court of the United States, the Fourth Circuit today rejects both requests, finding that this is an effort by the government to avoid a final judicial determination in the case. The strongly-worded opinion is authored by Judge Luttig; Judge Michael joins in the opinion; and Judge Traxler writes a separate opinion concurring in part.
Without question, this is a stinging defeat for the Bush Administration, as it had attempted by these motions to avoid the consequences of the September decision.