Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court [Updated September 10, 2008]   [open pdf - 334KB]

This CRS report provides an update on the recent federal court cases in which enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have "the constitution privilege of habeas corpus. "After the U.S. Supreme Court held that U.S. courts have jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2241 to hear legal challenges on behalf of persons detained at the U.S. Naval Station in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in connection with the war against terrorism […], the Pentagon established administrative hearings, called 'Combatant Status Review Tribunals' (CSRTs), to allow the detainees to contest their status as enemy combatants, and informed them of their right to pursue relief in federal court by seeking a writ of habeas corpus. […] In December 2005, Congress passed the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005 (DTA) […] eliminating the federal courts' statutory jurisdiction over habeas claims by aliens detained at Guantanamo Bay (as well as other causes of action based on their treatment or living conditions). […] the 109th Congress enacted the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA) (P.L. 109-366) to authorize the President to convene military commissions and to amend the DTA to further reduce access to federal courts by 'alien enemy combatants,' wherever held, by eliminating pending and future causes of action other than the limited review of military proceedings permitted under the DTA. In June 2008, the Supreme Court held in the case of Boumediene v. Bush that aliens designated as enemy combatants and detained at Guantanamo Bay have the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. […] The immediate impact of the Boumediene decision is that detainees at Guantanamo may petition a federal district court for habeas review of the legality and possibly the circumstances of their detention, perhaps including challenges to the jurisdiction of military commissions."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33180
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