Location: U.S.

Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay Facts of the Case In 2002 Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were seized by Bosnian police when U.S. intelligence officers suspected their involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. government classified the men as enemy combatants in the war on terror and detained them at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is located on land that the U.S. leases from Cuba. Boumediene filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of the Constitution's Due Process Clause, various statutes and treaties, the common law, and international law. The District Court judge granted the government's motion to have all of the claims dismissed on the ground that Boumediene, as an alien detained at an overseas military base, had no right to a habeas petition. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit affirmed the dismissal but the Supreme Court reversed in Rasul v. Bush, which held that the habeas statute extends to non-citizen detainees at Guantanamo. In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). The Act eliminates federal courts' jurisdiction to hear habeas applications from detainees who have been designated (according to procedures established in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005) as enemy combatants. When the case was appealed to the D.C. Circuit for the second time, the detainees argued that the MCA did not apply to their petitions, and that if it did, it was unconstitutional under the Suspension Clause. The Suspension Clause reads: "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." The D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the government on both points. It cited language in the MCA applying the law to "all cases, without exception" that pertain to aspects of detention. One of the purposes of the MCA, according to the Circuit Court, was to overrule the Supreme Court's opinion in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, which had allowed petitions like Boumediene's to go forward. The D.C. Circuit held that the Suspension Clause only protects the writ of habeas corpus as it existed in 1789, and that the writ would not have been understood in 1789 to apply to an overseas military base leased from a foreign government. Constitutional rights do not apply to aliens outside of the United States, the court held, and the leased military base in Cuba does not qualify as inside the geographic borders of the U.S. In a rare reversal, the Supreme Court granted certiorari after initially denying review three months earlier. Read the Briefs for this Case Question 1. Should the Military Commissions Act of 2006 be interpreted to strip federal courts of jurisdiction over habeas petitions filed by foreign citizens detained at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba? 2. If so, is the Military Commissions Act of 2006 a violation of the Suspension Clause of the Constitution? 3. Are the detainees at Guantanamo Bay entitled to the protection of the Fifth Amendment right not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law and of the Geneva Conventions? 4. Can the detainees challenge the adequacy of judicial review provisions of the MCA before they have sought to invoke that review?

Section 9.Conclusion Decision: 5 votes for Boumediene. Souter concurred in the judgment. Paragraph 2: Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus A five-justice majority answered yes to each of these questions. . Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia filed separate dissenting opinions. The detainees were not barred from seeking habeas or invoking the Suspension Clause merely because they had been designated as enemy combatants or held at Guantanamo Bay. The opinion. the MCA operates as an unconstitutional suspension of that writ. stated that if the MCA is considered valid its legislative history requires that the detainees' cases be dismissed. the Court went on to state that because the procedures laid out in the Detainee Treatment Act are not adequate substitutes for the habeas writ. 4 vote(s) against Legal provision: Article 1. The Court reversed the D. Circuit's ruling and found in favor of the detainees. Chief Justice John G.C. However. Justice David H. written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

arguing that Congress could not in essence retroactively change the rules of the game. it was believed the intent of the amendment was not to protect foreign nationals but citizens. citizen. the Suspension Clause which states that.S.S. soil. The Court ruled that the Suspension Clause was more of a historical relic that only really applied to the circumstances surrounding the political and national security climate in 1789. for it is essentially American soil.S. have a right to habeas corpus. While it initially declined to hear the case.S. In kind. and he was detained at an extra-territorial base. Majority Opinion Reasoning: The Court reasoned that prisoners. simply asserting that foreign nationals. is the MCA of 2006 in violation of the Constitution’s Suspension Clause? Are Guantanamo Bay detainees entitled to Fifth Amendment protections without due process of the law and consideration of the Geneva Conventions? Do detainees have to invoke judicial review provision first or can they challenge them on other merits before invoking an actual review? Holding: The Supreme Court ruled affirmatively for all of the questions. government violated his Due Process Clause rights. even if they are enemy combatants. District Court dismissed Boumediene’s claims on the grounds that he was not a U.” prevented the Congress from infringing on their rights because there was rebellion or invasion.S. in this case Guantanamo Bay? If the answer to the first question is in the affirmative.S. who were then immediately classified as enemy combatants and detained at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. the U. intelligence officers that they were involved in the bombings of a U. Boumediene filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that the U.S. the Constitution and all of its protections still apply. Supreme Court eventually decided to hear arguments regarding Boumediene’s claims in order to answer the question regarding foreign nationals and the right to due process in the context of detainment in extra-territorial bases. Since the MCA explicitly stated that it applied to all cases. and argued that even if it could. Dissenting Opinion: Chief Justice Roberts and Associate Justice Scalia both dissented.S. have never been afforded the right to habeas corpus as a matter of historical record. unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it. and thus there was no reason why it should be believed that in 2006 the contextual situation had changed. thus not entitling him to the same constitutional protections afforded to someone on U. have at least the right to challenge their enemy combatant status in court. Congress passed the Military Commissions Act which stripped federal courts of the authority to hear habeas corpus cases from detainees who have been classified as enemy combatants as a means to apparently circumvent the Supreme Court ruling. The detainees applied to the D.Summary of Boumediene v.C. it is still territorially under the control of the United States government. therefore. Issue: Several legal questions were presented.C. was given custody of the men. the Circuit Court affirmed the government’s right to legislate in such a way. The U. “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended. but the U. Bush Facts: In 2002. Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were apprehended by Bosnian police based upon the suspicions of U. The U.S. The Court reasoned that while Guantanamo Bay is a base located in Cuba. even enemy combatants. at that time. They included the following: Should courts interpret the MCA of 2006 to mean that they no longer have any jurisdiction over habeas corpus petitions filed by foreign nationals detained at extra-territorial bases. Circuit Court for a second time. Bush and indicated that foreign nationals.S. Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling. whether named enemy combatants or given another moniker. with no exceptions. The U. .S. embassy there. reversed the ruling in Rasul v.

and practices such as rendition further complicate the issue. that the federal government nevertheless maintains a considerable amount of latitude regarding practices concerning enemy detainment in extra-territorial settings.Conclusion: This case was significant because it enshrined the precedent that even enemy combatants have habeas corpus rights and that they cannot indefinitely be denied due process under the law simply because they are not citizens. . It should be noted however.