Tag: enemy combatants

4th Circuit Upholds Military Detentions, But Not Unchecked Executive Power

In a 216 page opinion (pdf) written by seven judges, the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals today affirmed President Bush's ability to indefinitely hold someone captured on American soil as an enemy combatant, but said his executive power is not unlimited and those held must have the right to challenge their confinement.

President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.

But a different 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second, overlapping majority ruled.


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