WYFF TheCarolinaChannel.com – 2005-02-28 22:54:42
(February 28, 2005) — A federal judge in Spartanburg has ordered that an American citizen held as an enemy combatant in a Navy brig in Charleston should be released.
US District Judge Henry F. Floyd ruled Monday that the president of the United States does not have the authority to order Jose Padilla to be held.
“If the law in its current state is found by the president to be insufficient to protect this country from terrorist plots, such as the one alleged here, then the president should prevail upon Congress to remedy the problem,” he wrote.
In the ruling, Floyd said that three court cases that the government used to make its claim did not sufficiently apply to Padilla’s case. Floyd wrote that, in essence, “the detention of a United States citizen by the military is disallowed without explicit Congressional authorization.”
Bush’s Claim of Authority ‘Violates the Country’s Constitutional Tradition’
Floyd wrote that because the government had not provided any proof that the president has the power to hold Padilla, he must reject the government’s claim of authority. “To do otherwise would not only offend the rule of law and violate this country’s constitutional tradition, but it would also be a betrayal of this nations commitment to the separation of powers that safeguards our democratic values and individual liberties,” he wrote.
“For the court to find for [the US government] would also be to engage in judicial activism. This court sits to interpret the law as it is and not as the court might wish it to be. Pursuant to its interpretation, the court finds that the President has no power, neither express nor implied, neither constitutional nor statutory, to hold [Padilla] as an enemy combatant,” Floyd wrote.
As a result, Floyd ordered that Padilla be charged with a crime or released within 45 days. The government is expected to appeal the decision.
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