RUMSFELD v. PADILLA
Jose Padilla, an American citizen, was arrested in Chicago's O'Hare International Airport after returning from Pakistan in 2002. He was initially detained as a material witness in the government's investigation of the al Qaeda terrorist network, but was later declared an "enemy combatant" by the Department of Defense, meaning that he could be held in prison indefinitely without access to an attorney or to the courts. The FBI claimed that he was returning to the United States to carry out acts of terrorism.
Donna Newman, who had represented him while he was being held as a material witness, filed a petition for habeas corpus on his behalf. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Newman had standing to file the petition despite the fact that Padilla had been moved to a military brig in South Carolina. However, the court also found that the Department of Defense, under the President's constitutional powers as Commander in Chief and the statutory authorization provided by Congress's Authorization for Use of Military Force, had the power to detain Padilla as an enemy combatant. The district judge rejected Newman's argument that the detention was prohibited by the federal Non-Detention Act, which states that no "citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwise detained by the United States except pursuant to an Act of Congress."
On appeal, a divided Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel reversed the district court's "enemy combatant" ruling. The panel found that the Authorization for Use of Military force did not meet the requirement of the Non-Detention Act and that the President could not, therefore, declare American citizens captured outside a combat zone as enemy combatants.
Does Congress's "Authorization for use of Military Force" authorize the President to detain a United States citizen based on a determination that he is an enemy combatant, or is that power precluded by the Non-Detention Act?
Legal provision: 28 USC 2241-2255 (habeas corpus)
The Court did not reach a decision on the merits in this case. Instead, in 5-to-4 opinion written by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, the Court found that the case had been improperly filed. Under federal law, a petition for a writ of habeas corpus can only be filed against the person directly responsible for a prisoner's confinement or, put another way, the person with the power to bring the prisoner to court. In most cases this person is the warden of the petitioner's prison; in this case, it was the commander of the military brig in which Padilla was held. Because Padilla's attorney had listed Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld as the defendent, instead of the brig commander, and because the suit was filed in New York instead of in South Carolina, where the commander lived and worked, the Court found that the case would have to be re-filed in a federal district court in South Carolina.
Justices Stevens, Souter, Ginsberg and Breyer dissented, finding that an exception should be made to the jurisdictional rule because the government had moved Padilla to South Carolina without giving his attorney notice to file the habeas writ.
(Audio missing - Chief Justice Rehnquist announces that the Court will hear arguments Rumsfeld v. Padilla)
CHIEF JUSTICE WILLIAM H. REHNQUIST: Mr. Clement.
MR. PAUL CLEMENT: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
Unlike the Hamdi case, which raised not only the question of the President and the military's authority to detain, but also questions of process and access to counsel, this case raises only two relatively discrete questions:
First, whether the habeas petition in this case, challenging Padilla's present physical confinement in South Carolina, was properly filed in Manhattan rather than against the immediate custodian in South Carolina.
And second, whether the President has the authority to detain a citizen who travels abroad, affiliates and associates with the enemy abroad, receives training in enemy camps in wiring and explosives, and then returns to the United States at the direction of the enemy to commit hostile and warlike acts.
Now there are many aspects of this case that raise issues that are really extraordinary, but the habeas petition that was filed in this case was a standard, indeed ordinary use of the writ to challenge the prisoner's present physical confinement.
And the habeas rules are settled that when the writ is used to challenge the present physical confinement, the proper custodian, the proper respondent is the immediate custodian, and the suit should be filed in the district where that custodian is present.
In other words, in a case to your present physical confinement, the case should be filed in the district of confinement.
JUSTICE JOHN PAUL STEVENS: May I ask, on that point, Mr. Clement, supposing this petition had been filed while he was still in New York, and then he was removed to South Carolina, would the petition be o.k. then?
MR. CLEMENT: There would be jurisdiction in that case, Justice Stevens, under the Endo decision. Now, I think in that case there would still be a question, especially if there was -- if the habeas petition was filed and he was immediately removed -- there would still be the question of venue at that point.
And there's a Seventh Circuit case that's not in the briefs, but Ross against Membay that you might want to look that says that in a case like that --
JUSTICE STEVENS: I'm still not quite -- I'm not quite sure what your answer is to my question.
MR. CLEMENT: My answer is, jurisdiction yes, under this Court's decision in Endo. But then there would still be a subsidiary question that's not raised here about venue.
JUSTICE STEVENS: Which the government presumably would be free to raise.
MR. CLEMENT: Exactly, and we would raise in a case where there was in fact jurisdiction, but in this case our position is there's no jurisdiction whatsoever.
And I think that --
JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR: Jurisdiction under the habeas statute has been a bit of a confusion because, for instance, on behalf of aliens, I think we've allowed jurisdiction to be obtained in the manner it was here, have we not?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, i don't think so Justice O'Connor. I don't know which case you have in mind, but I'm aware of no case of this Court that takes the unprecedented step that the court below took, which is basically to allow a habeas petition to go forward in a case where neither the prisoner nor the custodian is in the jurisdiction where they habeas petition is filed.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Well what do you do with ex parte Endo?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, Mr. Chief Justice, as I was suggesting to Justice Stevens, that case involves a kind of unique situation where the habeas petition is filed, challenging a certain kind of confinement, and then after the petition is filed, and after jurisdiction attach -- attaches, the the prisoner is moved.
In that case it was an individual moved from California to --
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: But they -- they never named any custodian in that case, did they?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I'm -- I don't know for sure, Mr. Chief Justice, but I would say a couple of things. One is, on the immediate custodian rule, I think that is a rule that perhaps the government could waive in a case.
And so, if you have a situation -- in a way, Hamdi is that case, where -- when the habeas petition in Hamdi was filed, he was being detained in Norfolk, which was in the Eastern District of Virginia.
It didn't matter in that case whether the immediate custodian was Paullette, who was the brig of the -- the commander of the brig, or Rumsfeld, because in the government's view they're both territorially present in the Eastern District of Virginia.
So the immediate custodian rule, I think, is something the government can waive. I don't think the territorial jurisdiction or limit on the courts, though, is something that the government is in the position to waive.
I think that is a restriction on the power of the court to issue the writ of habeas, and again as I was indicating --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Well, is -- is there a circuit split on whether aliens can name the attorney general
MR. CLEMENT: -- this case, though even there, as I understand most of those cases -- there's a case from the Ninth Circuit called Armentaro, which in the government's view goes the wrong way.
There's favorable precedent in the Sixth Circuit, the Fifth Circuit and the Seventh Circuit. But even, the Ninth Circuit, I think envisions a case where they view the Attorney General as the proper custodian. But it's not clear where they think that individual can be served.
Now, I suppose that the Ninth Circuit applying that rule might also take the unprecedented step here.
It's also true if you wanted sort of a sense of the potential of abuse in these cases, I think you could point to the Ninth Circuit case where the Ninth Circuit held that the central district of California, had habeas jurisdiction over a claim filed by a petitioner in Guantanamo.
I mean, obviously there's the issue that this Court has, but there's the question of if there were jurisdiction, I wouldn't have thought it lay in the central district of California. And I think that happens when you relax these traditional rules, and I think particularly in a case --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Where does jurisdiction lie for someone in Guantanamo, do you suppose?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, let me answer the question this way. Which is if you had a citizen in Guantanamo --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Yes.
MR. CLEMENT: And under this Court's cases like Toth against Quarles and Burns against Wilson, that citizen isn't able to file a habeas petition.
Our view is that the proper place to file that would be either in the eastern district of Virginia, if you were naming the Secretary of Defense or if you were naming some official present in the District, you would sue in the District of Columbia.
But, the important thing is, even in that case, the Court where you filed the petition, would have jurisdiction, territorial jurisdiction over the respondent.
And what is so anomalous here, is in a sense, it doesn't, I mean it matters in a sense in that we think the proper respondent is Commander Marr.
But even if you assume, the proper respondent here is Secretary Rumsfeld, the case still shouldn't be brought in the southern district of New York it should be brought in the Eastern District of Virginia --
JUSTICE STEVENS: But why? What difference does it make to the government where they defend?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I think that there are number --
JUSTICE STEVENS: Because there are a number of offices all over the country.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I-I-I think that's right Justice Stevens, I think it only makes sense to have the defense mounted in the place where the detention is taking place.
I think that's particularly true in this case, because this isn't a petition that only challenges the fact of confinement, if you look at the petition in this case, the amended petition, Joint Appendix Page 56.
The relief that's sought here also goes to the conditions of confinement in Commander Marr's brig. Now, in a case like that --
JUSTICE STEVENS: Yes, but I'm not sure that's appropriate relief in a habeas petition anyway.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I think you could file a mixed petition and seek that kind of relief, but in any event, I think what they're looking for is not just a release from detention, but the stopping of the interrogations --
JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG: How this particular case was pleaded, which it wasn't because we don't have any, any rushing out of this. But you keep talking about jurisdiction. And it seems to me this is essentially a venue question.
There's no question that Federal Courts have habeas jurisdiction, they have that authority. And you're talking about, not the large question, what kind of case can a Federal Court here, you're talking about a where question, not a what question.
MR. CLEMENT: Right, but the where--
JUSTICE GINSBURG: So, it's essentially a venue question.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I -- I, unless the word essentially is going to bear a tremendous amount of weight, I disagree.
Because what I think you have here is not general venue principles, you have a situation where the relevant statute that gives Courts habeas jurisdiction restricts their ability to issue the writ to their territorial jurisdiction.
And this Court has been clear in cases like Carbo and this even consistent in Justice Rutledge's dissent in the Ahrens case, that for that provision to have any meaning, at an irreducible minimum, it has to mean that a writ that goes to the proper custodian, has to be filed in the territorial jurisdiction of the district court.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Although, if the prisoner is moved, so the prisoner goes some place else, you still have jurisdiction over the case, although the original custodian no longer has the prisoner in his or her care.
MR. CLEMENT: That's right Justice Ginsburg, and this Court decided that in Endo, long before Ahrens when it reaffirmed an even stricter rule and there's nothing in the post-Ahrens cases that suggest this Court has ever deviated from this understanding.
And indeed, I would point the Court to the decision in Schlenger against Seamens, because I think in some ways it shows, how, that that case really decided this issue.
Because what the Court there had was an individual who was trying to get ROTC Scholarship in Arizona, but he was assigned to a unit in Alabama.
And he filed his habeas petition in Arizona and he named as respondents an individual in Arizona who had no custody over him whatsoever, so that individual was out.
He also named the Secretary of the Air Force, the Court didn't rely on that, and the Court said that his true custodian, is his commanding officer in Georgia.
And what this Court said was that there was no jurisdiction in Arizona over this custodian in Georgia. And just to be clear about it, the court noted and rejected an argument based on 28 U.S.C. 1391(e), which among other things, provides nationwide service of process against Federal officials. Now, if that statute had applied, then it would have been perfectly appropriate to bring the case in Arizona against a Georgia respondent, who is a Federal officer.
But the Court said no, 1391E does not trump the habeas statute. Now, if that is true of a Federal statute, that provides for nationwide service of process, it seems like it would be true a fortiori for federal rule of civil procedure four.
But that the theory under which the Courts below exercise jurisdiction --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Mr.-Mr. Clement, is Schlenger still good law after Strait and Braden?
MR. CLEMENT: Absolutely, your honor. And I think the best evidence of that. I think there's two things I'd like to point to.
But maybe the simplest way is that both Strait and Braden cite Schlenger favorably and indeed if you look at the very end of the Braden opinion when the Court says that the proper respondent there is within the Court service of process, it cites Schlenger for that proposition.
Which makes sense because in that case, the petition was properly filed challenging a Kentucky detainer in Kentucky. So the proper respondent was within the territorial jurisdiction of the Court in that case.
The second reason I would say that Schlenger is very much good law, as we pointed out in our reply brief, is that the Court in Schlenger went out of its' way, because at that point Ahrens was sort of already teetering on the very of obsolence to state that the rule would be exactly the same even under Justice Rutledge's view in Ahrens.
So I think for those two reasons, Schlenger continues to be good law and clearly would trump any service of process that would be provided by Rule Four.
And I think, and this is consistent with what the unanimous three judge Court in the Fourth Circuit said in the Hamdi case, that particularly in cases that raise such sensitive issues, as the cases that are involved on the merits in this case.
It is particularly important that the Court try to avoid on necessarily reaching Constitutional issues by first ascertaining that it has jurisdiction.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Although, you recognize, that it isn't a jurisdictional question like, can the Federal courts entertain this type of suit? Can they entertain a -- a fender bender between people from the same states? No.
Can they entertain Federal habeas cases? So, we have one federal system and there are classes of cases that can go into that system.
And then we have an allocation, of where. So this isn't jurisdiction writ large, it is where in this Federal system do you bring this case?
MR. CLEMENT: Well -- Well, Justice Ginsburg, it's statutory jurisdiction. But I agree, it is at some level, it is a which District Court question, not whether District Courts are open to these claims at all --
JUSTICE STEPHEN G. BREYER: Right, if it's a which District Court question, I mean, I don't know how long you want to spend on the procedural issue. But, I take it if we follow your thing, never can you entertain a habeas petition unless the body is in this District.
Then, immigration cases, military cases, are going to be a nightmare. If we follow a venue principle, you are going to get just the right result which is, we bring the case where it's most convenient.
MR. CLEMENT: With respect Justice Breyer, I would disagree. This Court, it is true, in situations where it has relaxed the notion of custody and has allowed habeas petitions to be brought in circumstances where they previously weren't available,
Strait against Laird is an example, this Court's decision in Braden, basically is an example, because it was accommodating the overruling McNally against Hill and Payton against Roe.
And so in those contexts, where there is more than one custody, or some type of metaphysical custody, this Court has relaxed the rules in a way to accommodate those. But it has never deviated, never.
From the rule that you have to file the habeas petition where the custodian is, and equally important, it has never, there is no need to expand the notion of custody because you have a classic habeas case where you are challenging your present physical confinement.
The Court never relaxed those rules --
JUSTICE BREYER: Let me ask you a question to get you to the merits, if I can.
MR. CLEMENT: That would be fine.
JUSTICE BREYER: Suppose that you're right about your basic claim that the uniform, what is it called, Use of Force Act, is in fact a statute of the kind contemplated in 4001.
Still, the words in that act, they can use necessary and appropriate force. So why would it be necessary and appropriate in a Country that has its' courts open, that has regular criminal procedures, that has all the possibility of adjudicating a claim, that I'm the wrong person.
Why is it a necessary and appropriate thing to do, once you have such a person who's a citizen in this country, to proceed by other than a normal court procedure.
MR. CLEMENT: Justice Breyer, I will answer the question, I would preface it by saying that I certainly wouldn't read the authorization of forces use of the term necessary and appropriate as an invitation for judicial management of the Executive's war making power.
I would have viewed it as a delegation to the Executive to use its traditional authority to make discretionary judgments in finding what is the necessary and appropriate force and the Prize Cases, I think stand for that proposition.
Now if I can address the specifics though, why it might be necessary and appropriate. And indeed, why is the government asserting this authority? It is precisely because, in this War on Terrorism, the government can confront an individual who is not only guilty of past war crimes, but also --
JUSTICE STEVENS: Mr. Clement, can I ask you just one last question on the jurisdictional issue?
If you assume it's a question of venue rather than jurisdiction, I know you're arguing in the alternative, but if you assume if it's venue rather than jurisdiction, would New York not have been the proper venue since he was held there as a material witness and had a lawyer appointed in that case?
MR. CLEMENT: Even if contrary to our position, it was a venue question --
JUSTICE STEVENS: Right.
MR. CLEMENT: -- We would still say no. And I think that you have to understand. The fact that he was in New York in the first place is a bit of a happenstance. He tries to fly to Chicago, he's seized in Chicago --
JUSTICE STEVENS: No, but the government is responsible for him being in New York which seems to me, they should not be complaining about litigating there.
MR. CLEMENT: Well with respect Justice Stevens, I don't think anybody would think if you filed a habeas petition to challenge Padilla's detention as a material witness, while he was being detained in New York, that that should be filed in Chicago.
And I think by the same logic, it doesn't make any sense with the gravamen of the writ, the gravamen of the challenge, is to the conditions and legality of the detentions in South Carolina, why that ought to be filed in New York, just because he's there under a different authority.
JUSTICE STEVENS: He had a lawyer appointed, didn't he there?
MR. CLEMENT: He did have a lawyer appointed there. Again, I don't think, I mean, I think Mr. Dunham or his equivalent in South Carolina would be available to provide whatever role is necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.
So I don't think are only lawyers in New York.
JUSTICE STEVENS: As I suppose a little easier for the government to find a lawyer wherever it needs it, than it would be for a prisoner being moved from district to district.
MR. CLEMENT: In none of these cases, have we seen a problem with the detainees finding legal representation.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Getting back to, getting back to the merits part --
JUSTICE SCALIA: Could I -- Could I hear the end of his answer to the previous question? I-I, you were in the middle of an answer, and I was waiting for the end of it?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, I hate to disappoint you, but I'm not sure I had anything particular left, other than to say that we would still, I mean and maybe I can reference that there are Court of Appeals cases, the Seventh Circuit has decided, this Ross against Membay case, that basically say that even if you're in a venue situation. Even if you're in the rule of Ex Parte Endo, there's still a strong, strong, presumption that a habeas petition belongs in a District Court where the individual's being detained.
Now maybe if you had a situation where the habeas petition was up and running and close to a final judgment or whatever and then the individual's detained, it makes sense to keep the proceeding in the first venue.
But in a case like -- if you had a case where the day after the first petition is filed he's moved for independent and good reasons, I think you'd also say that the case belongs in the place of detention.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: What rights does Padilla have, if any, in your view, that a belligerent who is apprehended on the battlefield does not have? Is -- is Padilla just the same as someone you catch in Afghanistan?
MR. CLEMENT: I think that for the purposes of the question before this Court, the authority question, he is just the same.
It may be that at an appropriate juncture when the Court has before it the question of what procedures should be applied that you would want to apply different procedures in a case like this.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Can you punish him?
MR. CLEMENT: Could we punish him? Certainly we could punish him if we decided to change the nature of our processing of him. I mean, as this Court made clear in Quirin --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Could you shoot him when he got off the plane?
MR. CLEMENT: No, I don't think we could for good and sufficient reasons of disgression.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, let me -- I assume that you could shoot someone you captured on the field of battle.
MR. CLEMENT: Not after we captured them and brought them to safety. And I think, in every case there are rules of engagement, there are rules for the appropriate force that should be used and I don't know that there --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: If they're an unlawful belligerent?
MR. CLEMENT: Yes, even if they're an unlawful belligerent, once they're, I mean we couldn't take some belligerent, like Hamdi for example. Once he's been removed from the battlefield and is completely poses no threat unless he's released and use that kind of force on him --
JUSTICE GINSBURG: What inhibits it? If-If the law is what the Executive says it is, whatever is necessary and appropriate in the Executive's judgment, that's the resolution you gave us that Congress passed and leaves it up to the Executive, unchecked by the Judiciary.
So, what is it that would be a check against torture?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, first of all there are treaty obligations, but the primary check is that just as in every other war, if a U.S. military person commits a war crime, by creating some atrocity on a harmless detained enemy combatant or a prisoner of war, that violates our own conception of what's a war crime and we'll put that U.S. Military officer on trial in a Court Marshall.
So I think there are plenty of internal reasons --
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Suppose the Executive says mild torture, we think will help get this information. It's not a soldier who does something against the code of military justice, but it's an Executive command. Some systems do that to get information.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, our Executive doesn't. And I think, I mean --
JUSTICE GINSBURG: What's constraining? That's the point. Is it just up to the good will of the Executive, or is there any Judicial check?
MR. CLEMENT: Well, this is a situation where there is jurisdiction in the habeas courts. So, if necessary they remain open. But, I think it's very important, I mean, the Court in Ludeki against Watkins, made clear that the fact that Executive discretion in a wartime situation can be used, is not a good and sufficient reason for Judicial micromanagement and overseeing of that authority.
You have to recognize that in situations where there is a war, where the government is on a war footing, you have to trust the Executive, to make the kind of quintessential military judgments that are involved in things like --
JUSTICE BREYER: Alright, but what is it about military- Go back to Justice Kennedy's question. I'm trying to push you down the road a bit, maybe we don't have to decide this now. But I want to understand your vision of it.
I mean, a person has come to the United States. He's, according to the government, committed a serious crime. And, is dangerous.Well, those are people we deal with all the time in the criminal process.
So, if you're even assuming this resolution authorizes some kind of force, why isn't the appropriate force, where he's in the United States and the courts are open, what we would call ordinary criminal process. I mean, that harmonizes everything.
Now, maybe there's a answer to that in your vision. I want to find out your vision of what's supposed to happen here and why.
MR. CLEMENT: Well Justice Breyer, let me give you a practical reason, answer, and a legal reason. You may prefer the former.
I think the practical reason is if you capture somebody who is not just somebody who is guilty of a war crime or a violation of some provision of Title 18. But also has a wealth of information that could be used to prevent future terrorist attacks, then it seems to me that the military ought to have the option of proceeding with him in a way that allows him to get actionable intelligence to prevent future terrorist attacks and should not be forced into a choice where the only way they can proceed is to proceed retrospectively, to try to punish him for past acts.
In doing so, whether it's in a military commission or in Article III, this requires you to give him a counsel, who's likely going to say, that you shouldn't talk to the government about any of these things.
JUSTICE SOUTER: Would you have that authority in the absence of the authorizing resolution? Would the President have that authority?
MR. CLEMENT: I think he might well. You in fact suggested that yourself, which is. If there was actionable information --
JUSTICE SOUTER: Well, I suggested that he might have on September 12th. I don't think my suggestion went much further. But, But I'll grant you an argument. Do you believe he'd have that authority today? In the absence of the authorizing resolution?
MR. CLEMENT: I think he would, certainly today. Which is to say, September 12th or April 28th.
JUSTICE SOUTER: Two and a half years later. But I mean based on the rationale that there in a need to bar him from what would be the normal process that Justice Breyer is describing, because of the need to interrogate, effectively.
Your answer I take it, is he would have that authority even without the authorizing resolution.
MR. CLEMENT: That would be my answer. I would say the President had that authority on September 10th, but I guess I --
JUSTICE SCALIA: How does he get that from just being Commander-in-Chief? I mean, I-I understand the Commander-in-Chief power, to be a power over the military forces when they are being used as military forces, the General Washington power to, you know, to command the forces tacticaly and everything else. It doesn't mean that he has power to do whatever it takes to win the war.
I mean, the Steel Seizure case demonstrates that well enough. How does this come within George Washington's Commander-in-Chief power which is what I read this Congressional Resolution to be directed at. It doesn't say you can do whatever it takes to win the war.
MR. CLEMENT: No. But Justice Scalia, presumably the authorization of force is read against prior history in this Court's precedents.
And those precedents include the Querin case, where it is absolutely clear that in fighting a war, you have the authority to detain individuals, even if they are not former -- formal military officers, who are affiliated with the enemy and come into the United States intent on committing hostile and warlike acts.
JUSTICE SOUTER: But Querin rested on the fact that there was Congressional authorization for a military commission to try on such charges.
MR. CLEMENT: Well, two things Justice Souter. First of all, you asked me a hypothetical. But we do have the authorization of force here.
Second of all, I don't think Querin can stand for the clear statement rule that others want to attribute to it for two reasons. One, to the extent it applied any clear statement rule it runs in the opposite direction.
The Court said they would not strike down the detention and trial of the individuals there, absent a clear conviction, that it violated an act of Congress.
JUSTICE SOUTER: Well I guess I'd settle as a rhetorical point, for the fact that it's not a clear statement for you either.
MR. CLEMENT: It actually, it purported to be it said, absent a clear conviction, it wouldn't strike down the authority.
JUSTICE SOUTER: No.
MR. CLEMENT: Just to be clear. As we point out in our reply brief, if you apply the clear statement rule to Querin, it would have to come out the other way.
Because Article II of the Articles of War that were enforced at the time, were restricted to members of the United States Military. Article Fifteen, which the Court relied on, didn't expressly authorize military commissions, expressly, it did so by negative implication.
So it's simply not the case that you need an express statutory authorization. If I could reserve my time for rebuttal.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Very well, Mr. Clement. Ms. Martinez, we'll hear from you.
MS. MARTINEZ: Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:
Even in wartime, America has always been a nation governed by the Rule of Law. Today the government asks this Court for a broad ruling that would allow the President unlimited power to imprison any American, anywhere, at any time without trial simply by labeling him an enemy combatant.
We ask this Court for a narrow ruling that leaves for another day the grave constitutional ruling of whether our system would permit the indefinite imprisonment, without trial, of American citizens on American soil, based on suspicion that they have associated with terrorists.
We simply ask this Court to hold that, at a minimum, Congress would have to clearly and unequivocally authorize such a departure from our nation's traditions, and that, since Congress has not done so, Mr. Padilla is entitled to be charged with a crime and to have his day in Court.
The detention at issue in this case is exactly the type of detention that our Founding Fathers were concerned about based on their experience with the British Crown, where the King had locked up citizens based --
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Are you -- Ms. Martinez, the authorization passed by Congress is quite broad, and it talks about force against individuals.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor, but there's not reference in the text of that authorization to any power to detain American citizens on American soil based on suspicion, and there's no indication whatsoever in the debates that Congress contemplated that it might be used in such a way.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, you surely don't think that it excluded American citizens? I mean, certainly it gave -- it gave the President authority to wage war against American citizens if they're on the other side, didn't it?
MS. MARTINEZ: Certainly, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SCALIA: So whatever authority it gave him, there's -- there's no indication that it's limited to non-citizens.
MS. MARTINEZ: No, but what is limited to citizens is section 4001, in which Congress specifically provided that no citizen shall be imprisoned or otherwised detained by the United States except pursuant to an act of Congress.
JUSTICE SCALIA: And you would say that 4001 prevents the President from detaining on the battlefield?
MS. MARTINEZ: No, Your Honor.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well -- well then it doesn't mean what you just said it meant.
MS. MARTINEZ: What we're talking about -- in this -- first of all, there's a general presumption against extraterritorial application of statutes, and so, in the absence of some indication that Congress intended 4001 to apply overseas, that general presumption would limit it to this country.
Moreover, the history --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: So the clear statement rule doesn't apply to 4001?
MS. MARTINEZ: Which clear statement rule, Your Honor?
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, I thought you were arguing for the clear statement rule.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor, we are, and our argument is limited to detentions within this country.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: But your qualification is -- is only implied from the statute.
MS. MARTINEZ: Our -- our argument is that what there needs to be a clear statement of is of the authority to detain an American citizen on American soil.
And the reason for that is given, one, by the history of section 4001, in which Congress looked at the Emergency Detention Act that had been passed during the Cold War, which would have allowed the President, in case of an internal security emergency or war, to imprison individuals based on suspicion that they were associated with a foreign power and were going to engage in acts of sabotage.
JUSTICE BREYER: Well, what about hi-jackers? I mean the resolution has to do with 9/11. And the people were hi-jackers. And a lot of the hi-jackers are up in the airplane and then they land. Do you think that the resolution wasn't aimed at them in part?
MS. MARTINEZ: Your Honor, our position is that certainly the President would have inherent authority with or without this resolution to seize an individual who was engaged in an act like that that took place on 9/11.
But after that individual had been seized, in order for them--that person to be held in detention in this country if they're a citizen, in particular, there must be some express statuatory authorization that provides a framework for that ongoing detention.
And that comes not only from 4001, but also from the Due Process Clause. And --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: And if they're captured on the battlefield and then brought here , 4001 clicks into operation in your view?
MS. MARTINEZ: Our position is that 4001 applied within the United States and its text means what it says: That no person --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, then you answer my question as yes.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: And if we found American citizens in Iraq who were firing on our forces--and brought them back here, they would have to be given an Article III trial?
MS. MARTINEZ: Your Honor, our position is that congress could provide for some alternative legislative scheme for dealing with such individuals --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: What about my question? In Iraq?
MS. MARTINEZ: At this time our position would be that such persons would have to be given an Article III trial unless Congress came in with some other provision. Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: And why do you distinguish citizen if we're talking about someone like Padilla, who was in the United States? The Due Process Clause refers to person not citizen.
So, if, I can see a distinction between abroad and the United States. But, within the United States, if it's someone who is -- is an alien but is here with permission, a resident alien say --
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor. We would agree that such persons are protected by the Due Process clause.
4001 refers only to citizens but we would agree that aliens within this country might certainly be protected as well. This case simply does not present that question. But we would not disagree with that. I think --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well let's get to that question, let's assume that we disagree with you about 4001 and we think that--the authorization for use of military force, supercedes that. Then what is your position with respect to the rights of your client?
MS. MARTINEZ: If--if your honors believe that 4000--that the authorization was meant to specifically authorize the detention of American citizens on American soil, we would contend first that there is no limiting principle within that authorization for who may be detained.
The government claims that anyone who is associated with Al Quaeda falls within this definition --
JUSTICE BREYER: So the principle would be, if somebodys--like a missile, sent over here. You know, he's actually one of the hi-jackers or the equivalent thereof. That's an obvious limiting principle -- that people who are sent off shore, sent right over here, and we catch them mid-air.
MS. MARTINEZ: I think when you start trying to draw those lines on a case by case basis, where this individual -- because they were actually in the midst of a hi-jacking is close enough, where some other individual who's merely in the early stages of a plot might not be enough.
The difficulty of drawing those lines shows the need for clear congressional action. This is primarily a job for Congress to create, if there's a need in this country for preventitive detention of terrorists, that's a legislative job for our legislature to undertake --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: But declarations of war are just not written this way. The Iraq declaration is not--the recent declarations of war, formal declarations are not. And the AMUF is not.
MS. MARTINEZ: That's correct --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: That's just not the tradition. The President is given the authority.
MS. MARTINEZ: That's correct, Your Honor, but broad authorizations for use of force in wartime have also not traditionally been interpreted to allow the executive unlimited power over citizens.
So in cases like Duncan and Endo, this Court has said that a wartime authorization for action by the Executive should not be construed broadly but should be construed narrowly to give only the power that it clearly and unequivocally indicates.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: Well, Endo was concededly loyal and Duncan were civil crimes -- a stockbroker who was embezzling.
MS. MARTINEZ: That's correct, Your Honor. But what 4001 was intended to prevent was a claim by the Executive that his broad, inherent powers in wartime, which specifically what 4001 adressed, would be enough to allow the detention of American citizens.
JUSTICE BREYER: Can you give me a minute or so, or as long as you want, or short, but -- suppose you get to the similar place by saying that this resolution -- suppose, hypothetically, I'm not saying what my view is --
-- but hypothetically suppose you get to the same place by saying, yes, that wartime authorization still doesn't authorize departing from use of the criminal system, the ordinary criminal system for someday in the United States, but for an unusually good reason. Now we have two possible reasons advanced, one orally, that we need to question, and one in the briefs, a suggestion that this man is a ticking time bomb, and we can't reveal the evidence without destroying the intelligence.
Now, I'd like your vision of how this is supposed to play out under an ordinary criminal system, in response, perhaps, to what those claims are.
MS. MARTINEZ: Our view would be that, because of the difficulty of the question of determining, for example, as I believe Justice Kennedy asked earlier, how long would such interrogation be necessary?
Would the district court be required to take evidence on those sort of issues? In the event that there were no other alternative, we believe that would be appropriate, but we also believe that's quintessentially a question for Congress, which could hold legislative hearings, and after due deliberation come to some conclusion about what was required in this context. And that is, in fact, what our democratic allies, the United Kingdom and Israel have done in passing specific legislation about the preventive detention of suspected terrorists based on legislative finding about --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Well that would be, of course, perhaps desirable, but we're faced with -- with a situation of the here and now, and what do we do?
MS. MARTINEZ: Your Honor, I --
JUSTICE O'CONNOR: Do we just turn lose a ticking time bomb?
MS. MARTINEZ: No, Your Honor. I believe that, first of all, were this Court to rule that it was -- that Congressional action was required, I have no doubt that Congress would step into the breach very quickly to provide whatever authorization the Executive Branch deemed necessary.
And so I think there's no doubt that Congress would fill that measure. Here, in this particular case, the government has already says that Mr. Padilla no longer possesses any intelligence value, and so his interrogation is at an end, and at this point, after two years in detention, without any sort of hearing, without any access to counsel, it's more than appropriate that he be charged with a crime, unless Congress comes forward with some alternative scheme.
Now, if I may turn for a moment to the issue of jurisdiction. Contrary to Mr. Clement's suggestions, this case does primarily involve issues of venue and not jurisdiction.
This Court has never held that there's a hard and fast rule requiring an immediate custodian, and this Court has also not applied rigid territorial requirements about the location of a suit.
And in particular, in the Strait case, this Court made clear that the type of jurisdiction that was necessary was jurisdiction making it -- making the respondent ammenable to service or process under the long arm provisions by citing International Shoe and McGee, which are provisions applying normal rules of personal jurisdiction.
Given the particular circumstances of this case, the extensive personal involvement of Secretary Rumsfeld in this matter make him an appropriate respondent, and New York is an appropriate venue for this suit.
The government brought Mr. Padilla to New York, they placed him in Court proceedings there, counsel was appointed and litigation had begun. It was the government's choice to remove him from that forum.
But that does not change the fundamental fact that jurisdiction was proper in New York.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Are you suggesting, then, that this case might be an exception to some more general rule because of the peculiar facts that you've just recited?
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor. I think there is no hard and fast general rule as the government states it. There are numerous exceptions already to the rule that the government articulates that can be found in prior cases.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Well, maybe there should be some more -- more definite rule. Supposing we were to say that generally it's the Secretary of Defense, and his venue is in the Eastern District of Virginia?
MS. MARTINEZ: This Court might very well decide to make such a venue rule, but I would note that the government at this point in the case has waived their objection to venue by not pursuing it on appeal.
They challenge the venue in the district court and they did not appeal that.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Well, but they've certainly challenged the proper custodian here.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor. They've challenged the proper custodian. But as this Court's decisions in cases like Endo, like Eisentrager make clear, that the identity of the proper respondent is not a hard and fast or absolute jurisdictional rule.
JUSTICE SCALIA: That doesn't change it from -- from jurisdiction to venue. I mean venue is venue and jurisdiction is juristiction.
You may say that the juristictional rule has been so haphazard that effectivly, it -- it amounts to the same thing. And -- and that argument will stand and fall on the basis of the cases that -- that you and Mr. Clement have discussed.
But to say that this is venue is -- is simply wrong. I mean, it is a matter of the jurisdiction of the court, and it has always been treated that way by our opinions. We haven't discussed it as -- as a venue rule.
MS. MARTINEZ: Well, your honor, I -- I do agree that there is a jurstictional question and we -- we agree that -- we argue that juristiction is proper, but what Braden says is that the rule that Ahrens had announced as a hard and fast jurisdictional rule reflected nothing more than traditional venue concerns, and so Braden specifically says that -- that which was discussed in Arrings went to venue and not to juristiction. Returning --
JUSTICE SCALIA: Where you have, conceivably, proper jurisdiction in several places.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, your honor, and we would argue that jurisdiction was proper in New York in this case, because --
JUSTICE GINSBERG: We are talking -- if we are using the juristictional label -- it's personal juristiction, not subject matter juristiction.
MS. MARTINEZ: That's correct, Your Honor, and under this Court's decision in Strait, there was personal juristiction over Secretary Rumsfeld in New York because of his contacts with that forum.
Returning to the merits of this case, what I think is important for this court to realize is that the war on terror presents many difficult questions about the proper balance between civil liberties and national security.
Congress is the body of our government that has been -- that was entrusted by the founders for making law to deal with new situations and Congress is fully capable of considering the various parameters of any sort of scheme of detention that might be necessary, and certianly this court would have the power to review to determine wether that system established by Congress were constitutional, but what we have here is a claim by the executive to a virtually unlimited system where any person that the President deems an enemy combatant --
JUSTICE REHNQUIST: But -- but, on the basis of -- of the congressional authorization, he is not claiming it just as a -- by virtue of executive power.
MS. MARTINEZ: Well, he claims them both on the basis of inherent executive power and on the basis of the authorization.
JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Since they're both -- the weaker -- weakest claim is probably soley the executive. But I think that you have to deal with the claim that it's Congressional authorization.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes your honor, there's simply indication that when Congress passed the authorization for use of military force, which enabled us to deploy our troops overseas, that Congress also thought that they were authorizing the indefinate military detention, without trial, of American citizens on American soil. There was no debate of such a dramatic departure from our Consutitional con -- traditions.
And just a few weeks later, when Congress passed the PATRIOT Act, it extensivly debated a provision that allowed the detention of aliens for 7 days.
JUSTICE SCALIA: The trouble is I -- I don't see how you can -- I mean, I think I can understand your saying it dosn't give him any power except a battlefield power.
I can understand that. You might read it that way. But, I can't understand reading it to say it applies to everybody, but not to United States Citizens. That line is just not there in the resolution.
MS. MARTINEZ: We would say it does not apply off the battlefield, certainly, to U.S. citizens on U.S. soil. And --
JUSTICE SCALIA: But if you -- but it does apply to ailiens. The-- the President could use force against aliens, under that resolution.
MS. MARTINEZ: This court need not decide that in this case --
JUSTICE SCALIA: I understand, but you're proposing to us an interpretation of the resolution, which I suggest, makes no sense.
MS. MARTINEZ: I --
JUSTICE SCALIA: Unless you are willing to say that all it also doen't apply to aliens that are being brought -- that-- that are committing these acts within the country.
MS. MARTINEZ: I would agree that it does not-- the authorization does not clearly indicate that it is applicable to aliens either. If you would say --
JUSTICE BREYER: You might have the power to take up the aliens and arrest them anyway because 4001 dosn't prohibit it, is that your point?
MS. MARTINEZ: Correct, Your Honor. Correct, Your Honor. That is our point, which is that the degree of specificity that would need to be required to authorize this kind of extraordinary detention of citizens would be greated and in particular with aliens, there has always been a greater power of the executive because they have no right to be here.
JUSTICE KENNEDY: And do I take it then, that you have no -- assuming that we're -- assume that 4001 has been superceded by the authorization. I assume that you have no principled basis for distinguishing between citizens and aliens insofar as detaining enemy beligerents.
MS. MARTINEZ: No your honor. As to individuals within the United States, if-- if 4001 is not at issue, because of it's specific refrence to citizens, we would say aliens within the United States would have the same-- would be in exactly the same position. Correcting --
JUSTICE KENNEDY: So -- so you would make no distinction, between the two.
MS. MARTINEZ: Correct your honor -- were it not for 4001. But we think that 4001 calls for a sp -- not just a broad authorization, but specific authorization, because 4001 was concerned with the situation where there was a general declaration of war, or where there was some type of internal emergency, and the concern was that the executive should not be able to rely on that general declaration of war or that general situation, to lock up citizens. That was precicely the situation with the Japaneese internment camps.
The President-- President Roosevelt had been authorized-- the broadest possible force you can have to fight a war. There was a declaration of complete war against Germany and Japan.
Congress looked back on that, and did not want a future president to find in such a declaration of war, the power to imprison American citizens. They wanted it to come from specific legislation.
JUSTICE SCALIA: So you say that-- that has no application on the battlefield because of the principle of no exateritorial effect of-- of United States statues?
MS. MARTINEZ: Your honor, certianly as to an overseas battlefield, 4001 because of the presumption against extraterritorality would not apply.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Alright. Now what-- what if you-- you capture an American combatant and bring him back to the United States? Then 4001 --
MS. MARTINEZ: 4001 would apply upon his return.
JUSTICE SCALIA: Would apply?
MS. MARTINEZ: Correct. And let me say, also in respect to the Japaneese internment camps, Congress was very specific in passing 4001, that what it wanted was democratic deliberation by our lawmakers about the neccissity of this kind of exteme measure, where American citizens might be detained without trial.
It didn't want that to slip under the radar under the umbrella of the general declaration of war or general use of force.
It wanted to ensure that there was specific debate by Congress on those very different Constutional questions presented in those situations, by the power of detaining citizens. And this type of --
JUSTICE GINSBERG: Did Congress, at the time of 4001, consider other systems that do allow for preventative detention, but then require the person to be periodically brought before the judge, to make certian that-- that the conditions still exist, like as is alleged in this case, the need to get evidence?
MS. MARTINEZ: Your Honor, there is certianly are many other systems that provide for that sort of judicial review.
In the United Kingdom and Israel, for example, people detained under preventive detention schemes are intitled access to council, are intitled to prompt and periodic judicial review under legislative standards, to determine wether those detentions can be continued.
And certainly there are many comparative examples out there, where legislatures have made those kind of fact findings about what is approprate. And there is no reason why our legislature could not undertake such a --
JUSTICE BREYER: Well the-- the reason, and this is why I have been harping on this thing of neccissary and approprate, that it seems to me if you take into account the traditions of the United States ordinary criminal processes, and you say, well, the-- the Forces Act, the Use of Force Act, dosn't apply at all. Then there's no way to take care of the real emergency, the real emergency, the real ticking time bomb, etc., except to go back to Congress, which may or may not act.
But if you get to the same result by reading the neccissary and approprate thing to take into account our traditions, you do leave the opening there for the possibility of a real emergency, which would warrant an extraordinary proceeding.
I'm just exposing my thought on this so that I can get your reaction.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes your honor, I think that's-- that's absolutely correct. You could certianly read the neccissary and approprate language that way, and let me also make clear that we are not arguing that the President would have no power either under the AUMF or under his inherent powers to seize an individual in the case of immenent violent activity. We are simply talking about his power to continue to detain that individual over many months prior to that inital seizure. And so, regardless of how you read the AUMF, that's simply not what we're arguing about.
We're aruging about, once the individual has been prevented from carrying out the harmful attack, and once they're in government custody, can they simply be held forever without trial until the end of the war on terror?
Or, instead, once they're -- once they're taken into custody, must they be treated in accordance with our positive laws.
JUSTICE SOUTER: So I take it you would say that the resolution was inadaquate, to continue to hold your client in the manner in which he is being heald, even on the day in which it was passed.
This is not a two-and-a-half years later argument. It would be an argument on the day it was passed.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, your honor. Particularly given --
JUSTICE SOUTER: But you-- but you would-- I just want to make sure I understand you, but you would not neccissarily have objected lets say, a week after September 11th, even though there was no resolution?
MS. MARTINEZ: If there were a situation where an individual, not like my client, but an individual that were on the verge of engauging in imment violent conduct, certianly the President would have the power, even under the 4th Amendment, to seize that individual without a warrant, and bring him into custody on the basis that they were about to engauge in a violent act.
But that's a far different situation from seizing someone like my client, who is not alleged to be on the verge of imment lawless activity, was not in the process of hijacking an aircraft, but was simply alleged to be a part of a plot.
JUSTICE STEVENS: You mean, you say, it's clear he could do it if the defendant was about to engage in that kind of conduct. By what standard would you decide that he was about to-- probable cause? Proof beyond a reasonable doubt? Or just suspicion?
MS. MARTINEZ: For the initial seizure, we would say probable cause, and that would be under --
JUSTICE STEVENS: And mere suspicion, based on confidential intellience would not be sufficent?
MS. MARTINEZ: We would subbmit no, but it's -- it's possible that-- that when that question came up, the quantum of evidence might be weighed against the danger that the Executive perceived.
If the executive had some amount of suspician that there was about to be a very violent activity, it could be possible that some lesser amount might be required for the initial seizure, but we're not talking --
JUSTICE SOUTER: But that's-- that's really reasonable suspician standard then, isn't it?
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your Honor. But we're not talking about that question of inital seizure here, in this case we're talking about the ongoing detention for two years of someone after there's been --
JUSTICE SCALIA: Well, but you wouldn't say just two years. You would certainly say that as soon as the President prevented the act that he feared, by taking the person into custody, he immeadately had no more authority to detain them. Wouldn't you? I mean, the --
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes, Your --
JUSTICE SCALIA: That's the way that the statue you're relying on reads. There-- there, that he shall not be detained. So two years has nothing to do with it.
MS. MARTINEZ Yes, your honor.
JUSTICE SCALIA: The next day, he should, I suppose, uh, you know, uh, hand him over to civil prosecution authorities.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes your honor. We would say that 48 hours, under this court's decisions, if Congress thinks that a longer period of time is appopreate in terrorism cases, it can do as other countries have done and provide for a longer period of time.
In the United Kingdom is a 48 hours plus a maximum of 7 days without a charge for suspected terrorists. In the United Kingdom up to 14 days. Congress might come in and provide some legislative extension. But in the absence of that, our normal rule of 48 hours under County of Riverside would be approprate.
JUSTICE SCALIA: But we're not just talking about terrorists here, we're talking about terrorists associated with foreign forces.
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes your honor, and let me say that those are exactly the sort of individuals that the passage of 4001 was designed to address.
The Emergency Detention Act, which 4001 repealed, specifically talked about the possibility of sabetours in this country who are under the direction and control of the communist empire.
And so there was a specific concern with individuals who might be under that kind of power in 4001, and Congress wanted to make very clear that such individuals could not simply be detained at executive discresison, but could only be detained pursuant to positive law.
Positive law that is simply nonexistant in this case. The type of association with a terrorist organization is also unclear based on the government's aligations in this case.
Surely, the government cannot claim that anyone who associated with any member of Al queda at any time would be subject to indefinate military detention without trial.
Mr Padilla's mother, because she is associated with her son may be argued to have associated with Al queda, and clearly that's not what Congress had in mind, to allow that person to be locked up with no right to a lawyer, no right to a hearing for as long as the war on terror lasts.
That's simply consistant with our nations constutitional traditions, it's a limitless power that -- and there's no call for it in this case.
JUSTICE GINSBURG: Do you say that Judge -- Judge Mukasey's solution to this case was not adaquate then?
MS. MARTINEZ: Yes your honor. We do not belive that Judge Mukasey's solution was adaquate, we belived, in the first instance, clear autorization and parameters for such detention must come from Congress, defining who ought to be detained and what procedures ought to accompany those detentions.
And at that point, this court could review them for consistency with the Constutition.
But no, we-- while certianly, Judge Mukasey's order was better than what the government offered, which was no process at all, no opportunity to be heard, and no access to council, certianly, Judge Mukasey's order was better than that, but when the indefinate deprevation of a citizen's liberty is at stake, we argue that the government must come forward with more than some evidence consisting of any evidence in the record that might support the government's position that he's associated with terrorists.
When this type of exteme deprevation of liberty is at issue, something more than that is required by the due process clause and by our Constitution.
So certianly, what we would say is that this Court need not decide those issues today of what precise standard of proof ought to be given, exactly when an individual ought to be allowed access to counsel, and-- and what the limits are on how long such an individual could be held, etc. Because those are primarily questions for Congress, and this Court ought to wait until Congress has come in and provided that kind of guidance before it passes on these grave constitutional questions, which really go to the core of what our democracy is about, which is that the government cannot take citizens, in this country, off the street and lock them up in jail forever without a trial.
That's never the way our country has operated, and it's fundimentally inconsistant with our-- uh-- traditions, and so I would submit today is not the day for this court to decide wether that's permissible.
The government asks, in this case, for basically limitless power, and however grave the cirumstances of the war on terror may be, this nation has faced other grave threats.
We've had war on our soil before, and never before in the nation's history, has this Court granted the President a blank check to do whatever he wants to American citizens.
So the fact that we're at war does not mean that our normal constitutional rules do not apply. Even in wartime, espically in wartime, the founders wanted to place limits on the ability of the Executive to deprive citizens of liberty.
And they were concerned, based on the history of the British Crown, of the possibility that an unchecked executive, using excuses based on national security, using the military power to render that superior to civilian authorities, could excerse the type of-- the exact type of power that's at issue in this case. Thank you Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Thank you Ms. Martinez. Mr. Clement, you have four minutes remaing.
MR. CLEMENT: Thank you Mr. Chief Justice. I'd like to make just three points. First, on jurisdiction. It is true that the immediate custodian rule is not a hard and fast rule and exceptions have been made, but the territorial jurisdiction rule is statutorially prescribed, limits the Court's jurisdiction and is a hard and fast rule. And the best evidence of the relationship between the two are those cases where you had to relax one or the other.
When you had a citizen detained abroad, where the immeadiate custodian was abroad, outside the territorial jurisdiction of any district court, rather than relax the rule of territorial jurisdiction, the courts said you could sue the Secretary of Defence in a dictrict where there is territorial jurisdiction over the individual. It is true there are situations like straight against lehred that don't involve normal physical confinement, where the Court has had to come up wtih some rule to deal with the fact that you only have a metaphysical custodian, but in the case of a physical detention of an individual, the Court has never relaxed the rule that you file it in the district where the immeadiate custodian is located, and if you look at this court's decision, in Carbo, in Justice Rutledge's dissent in Ahrens, you will see that if you don't respect the rule in the situation like this, there's nothing left to the statutory language, and nothing left of the intent of the congress that passed it.
The second point I'd like to make, is that in looking at this case and the authority that's asserted and the role of 4001a, it's important to recognize that there is a significant difference between civilian authority and the military authority over enemy combatants.
This court, when it decided Endo, and addressed the situation of the detention of the Japanese, specifically carved out the situation of the military detention of enemy combatants and said that that is not involved here.
It stands to reason that a Congress, in passing 4001a to effectly prevent another Japanese internment camp of conceedly loyal citizens, also probably wanted to put to one side the issue of military detention of enemy combatants.
In any event, the Court need not ultimately decide 4001a has any application, because the authorization of force, clearly provides the neccessary act of Congress. It authorizes not Article III courts for these individuals, it authorizes military force.
And the relevant line here is provided by this court's case in Quirin. When somebody goes abroad, associates with the enemy, takes weapons trainings or explosives training with the enemy, and then returns to the United States, with the intent to commit hostile and warlike acts at the direction of the emeny, that it classically falls within the Quirin side of the line. It's much different than a Lambden Milligan who never left the state of Indiana, and the military has authority over that individual.
Lastly, let me just address the argument that somehow you can contstrain the authorization of force and read it only to apply in a battlefield setting.
With respect, I think that it ignores the context in which it was passed. It was passed seven days after September 11th. The resolution itself recognizes that we face continuing threats at home and abroad.
It was not passed as a matter of retrobution for those attacks, but to prevent future attacks. To read it to deny the government the authority to detain a latter day citizen version of Mohammed Atta is to simply ignore the will of Congress. Thank you Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE REHNQUIST: Thank you Mr. Clement. The case is submitted.
Argument of Chief Justice Rehnquist
Mr. Clement: I have the opinion of the court to announce in No. 03-1027, Rumsfeld v. Padilla.
In May 2002, respondent Padilla, an American citizen, was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
He had just returned from Pakistan where he allegedly conspired with al Qaeda to carry out terrorist attacks within the United States.
Padilla was held in federal custody in New York City in connection with the Southern District of New York’s grand jury investigation into the September 11th attacks.
On June 9th 2002, however, President Bush issued an order designating Padilla as an “enemy combatant” and directing Rumsfeld to take Padilla into military custody.
The Defense Department Personnel immediately took custody of Padilla and detained him at the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina, where he has been held ever since.
Two days later, Padilla’s attorney filed a Section 2241 habeas petition on his behalf in the Southern District of New York, alleging that Padilla’s military detention violates the Constitution.
The District Court held that it had jurisdiction over the habeas petition not withstanding the absence of both Padilla and his immediate custodian from the Southern District.
On the merits that Court held that the President was authorized, both by the Constitution and statute to detain an enemy combatant, to detain as enemy combatants, American citizens captured on American soil during wartime.
The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit agreed with the District Court’s jurisdictional holding, but concluded that the President lack the authority to militarily detained Padilla.
We granted certiorari and we now reverse.
We hold that the Southern District lack jurisdictional over Padilla’s habeas petition under the habeas statute Section 2241.
We therefore do not decide whether Padilla’s military detention is lawful. Section 2241(a) provides that District Courts may issue a habeas relief within their respective jurisdictions.
We hold that in habeas challenges to present physical confinement such as Padilla’s, jurisdiction is determined by two complimentary rules, the immediate custodian rule, and the district of confinement rule.
Under the immediate custodian rule, the proper respondent in Padilla’s challenge to his present physical confinement is his immediate custodian or the warden of the facility in which Padilla is detained.
In this case, that is Melanie Marr, the Commander of the Naval Brig in South Carolina.
The Court of Appeals mistakenly held that Secretary Rumsfeld is the proper respondent because he exercises what it called “legal control” over Padilla, but the habeas statute, established practice, and our precedent sall make clear that a supervisory official exercises legal control is not a proper respondent in challenges to present physical confinement.
Under the district of confinement rule, a habeas petitioner challenging his present physical confinement should file under district of his confinement, which is also the district in which his immediate custodian resides.
Braden v. 30th Judicial District and Strait v. Laird, on which the Court of Appeals mistakenly relied, did not involve challenges to present physical confinement, and thus do not aid the deal.
Finally, Ex parte Endo is an opposite, because there the government moved the habeas petitioner after, she properly filed a habeas petition in her district of confinement.
Padilla did not file his habeas petition until two days after he was moved to South Carolina.
Under the immediate custodian and district of confinement rules, Padilla should have filed his habeas petition that District of South of Carolina, not the Southern District of New York.
Accordingly, the judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and the case is remanded for at the entry of an ordered dismissal without prejudice.
Justice Kennedy has written a concurring opinion in which Justice O’Connor has joined.
Argument of Justice Stevens
Mr. Stevens: I have filed a dissenting opinion that Justice Souter, Justice Ginsburg and Justice Breyer have joined.
We agree that the location of the immediate custodian should determine the appropriate forum in the ordinary habeas corpus proceeding, and that prisoner should not be permitted to engage in forum shopping.
In our view however, this is an exceptional case that merits exceptional treatment.
The habeas corpus proceeding filed by respondent Padilla was in effect a continuation of proceedings initiated by the government, in the Southern District of New York.
That is the District where the government had obtained the material witness warrant that authorized respondent’s arrest, and where counsel had been appointed to represent it.
It was on a Sunday, two days before a scheduled hearing and the lawfulness of his detention that the government made an Ex parte application to vacate the material witness warrant and transfer respondent’s custody from the Justice Department to the Defense Department, and his appointed counsel had been given notice of that application.
She undoubtedly would have filed her habeas petition immediately, instead of two days after respondent was removed from the District.
As the Court of Appeals correctly and unanimously held, the time and efforts that councel and the court had already invested in the case, more than amply justify the decision to retain jurisdiction of the controversy in New York.
The Court’s unnecessarily strict application of its immediate custodian rule, needlessly postpones the performance of our duty, to answer questions that are of profound importance to the nation.
"At stake in this case is nothing less than the essence of a free society.
Even more important than the method of selecting the people's rulers and their successors is the character of the constraints imposed on the Executive by the rule of law.
Unconstrained Executive detention for the purpose of investigating and preventing subversive activity is the hallmark of the Star Chamber.
Access to counsel for the purpose of protecting the citizen from mistakes and mistreatment is the hallmark of due process.
Executive detention of subversive citizens, like detention of enemy soldiers to keep them off the battlefield, may sometimes be justified to prevent persons from launching or becoming missiles of destruction.
It may not, however, be justified by the naked interest in using unlawful procedures to extract information.
Incommunicado detention for months on end is such a procedure.
Whether the information so procured is more or less reliable than that acquired by more extreme forms of torture is of no consequence.
For if this Nation is to remain true to the ideals symbolized by its flag, it must not wield the tools of tyrants even to resist an assault by the forces of tyranny.