Reuters Quotes Wiggin & Dana's Brief in Padilla Case

August 8, 2003
Reuters, July 30, by Gail Appleson
An unlikely alliance of conservative and liberal public interest groups said on Wednesday they had joined in fighting the Bush administration's indefinite detention of a U.S. citizen who is dubbed an enemy combatant but has not been charged with any crime.
 
The groups have jointly filed a legal brief with an appeals court in support of "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla, imprisoned incommunicado in a navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than a year.
 
Padilla, a New Yorker, is being held for allegedly plotting with the al Qaeda network of Osama bin Laden to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in the United States. He was arrested in Chicago in May last year as he arrived from Pakistan.
 
Padilla's lawyers have sued the government, arguing that a U.S. citizen cannot be held indefinitely without criminal charges. Other challenges include an attack on the administration's policy on barring U.S. citizens held as enemy combatants from meeting their defense lawyers.
 
U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey, who is overseeing the case, has asked the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to determine if President George W. Bush can declare a U.S. citizen captured in the United States an enemy combatant and jail him until the conflict with the al Qaeda network ends.
 
The brief filed by the public interest organizations argued: "No congressional action justifies the lawless seizure and incommunicado detention of Mr. Padilla ... To the contrary, the executive action runs brazenly afoul of the constitutional principles of separation of powers and the statutory law that safeguards that principle."
 
Among organizations that submitted the brief are People for the American Way, a liberal civil rights group; the conservative Rutherford Institute that paid Jones' legal fees; and the libertarian Cato Institute.
 
Other organizations are The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, The Constitution Project and the Center for National Security Studies, all of which have challenged the Bush administration's  handling of the war on terrorism.
 
The American Bar Association, the nation's largest legal group, also said on Wednesday it has filed a similar brief arguing that Padilla must have the opportunity to challenge the basis for his detention.