Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court [Updated July 29, 2008]   [open pdf - 329KB]

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." More specifically, "this report provides an overview of the CSRT [Combatant Status Review Tribunals] procedures, summarizes court cases related to the detentions and the use of military commissions, and summarizes the Detainee Treatment Act [DTA], as amended by the Military Commissions Act of 2006, analyzing its effects on detainee-related litigation in federal court. The report summarizes pending legislation and provides an analysis of relevant constitutional issues that may have some bearing on Congress's options with respect to the Guantanamo detainees. [...] The Administration's policy of detaining wartime captives and suspected terrorists at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station has raised a host of novel legal questions regarding, among other matters, the relative powers of the President and Congress to fight terrorism, as well as the power of the courts to review the actions of the political branches. The DTA was Congress's first effort to impose limits on the President's conduct of the Global War on Terrorism and to prescribe a limited role for the courts. The Supreme Court's decision striking the DTA provision that attempted to eliminate the courts' habeas jurisdiction may be seen as an indication that the Court will continue to play a role in determining the ultimate fate of the detainees at Guantanamo. However, the Court did not foreclose all options available to Congress to streamline habeas proceedings involving detainees at Guantanamo or elsewhere in connection with terrorism. Instead, it indicated that the permissibility of such measures will be weighed in the context of relevant circumstances and exigencies."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33180
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