Court Issues Groundbreaking Decision In War On Terror

December 18, 2003

New Haven attorney involved in the case available for comment

The Federal Court of Appeals in New York released a groundbreaking decision a few hours ago, finding that the President has violated the Constitution in the war on terror.  In the case of Padilla v. Rumsfeld, the 2d Circuit Court of Appeals found that the President does not have the power to detain, without charge and indefinitely, an American citizen seized on American soil. 

One of the primary architects of the legal challenge against the government, Jonathan Freiman, an attorney at Wiggin & Dana LLP and a Senior Fellow at the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School, is available for comment.  Freiman submitted the brief in the case for a coalition of conservative, centrist and liberal organizations, ranging from the CATO Institute to People For The American Way.

"The court has made clear that the President’s unprecedented attempt to imprison American citizens without charge fundamentally violates our constitution.  We can only hope that the government will now recognize the extent of its overreaching and will return to the constitutional path that has safeguarded this nation for more than two hundred years," said Freiman.

Padilla has been held in a South Carolina naval brig for the past year and a half, deprived of access to counsel, his family, or anyone but his captors. He has not been charged with a crime, but is suspected of having been involved in a plot to detonate a “dirty bomb” in the United States.