Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court [Updated September 21, 2006]   [open pdf - 171KB]

"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 (Rasul v. Bush), 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. The Court's decision has led to efforts in Congress to enact legislation authorizing the President to convene military commissions. The proposed legislation (H.R. 6054, S. 3901, S. 3861, and S. 3886) would also amend the DTA to further reduce the access of aliens in U.S. custody overseas to federal court, to the extent that such jurisdiction existed, by eliminating pending and future causes of action other than the limited review of military proceedings permitted under the DTA. Implementation of the DTA, in its present form or as proposed to be amended, to preclude the detainees' access to court may raise constitutional issues with respect to the Suspension Clause (U.S. Const. Art. 1, § 9, cl. 2), whether it amounts to an impermissible 'court-stripping' measure to deprive the Supreme Court of jurisdiction over matters of law entrusted to it by the Constitution, and whether such constitutionally sensitive issues can be avoided in light of the alternative procedures provided. This report will be updated as events warrant."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33180
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