U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rejects Padilla Torture Suit, Gitmo Detainee Cases


The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected suits by Guantanamo Bay detainees and Jose Padilla, the U.S. citizen who claimed he was tortured while he was held in a military brig in South Carolina.

The court rejected the cases today, report Reuters, Huff Post Politics, Bloomberg News and SCOTUSblog.

Padilla was convicted of plotting overseas terrorism and initially sentenced to 17 years in prison; a federal appeals court later deemed the sentence too low. The Richmond, Va.-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in January that Padilla can’t sue for alleged mistreatment because he had been designated an enemy combatant. The case “would draw courts into the heart of executive and military planning and deliberation,” the appeals court said.

The cert petition had sought to overturn the 4th Circuit decision. Padilla was represented by Ben Wizner of the American Civil Liberties Union. “The Supreme Court’s refusal to consider Jose Padilla’s case leaves in place a blank check for government officials to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison,” Wizner said in a press release.

Padilla had alleged he was shackled in painful stress positions, subjected to extreme temperatures and injected with a substance said be truth serum.

The Supreme Court also turned down seven appeals by Guantanamo Bay detainees. According to SCOTUSblog, the cert denial represented an emphatic confirmation that the court is not now inclined to second guess government detention policies. “The practical effect is that the D.C. Circuit Court now functions as the court of last resort for the 169 foreign nationals remaining at the U.S.-run military prison in Cuba, and that court has a well-established practice of overturning or delaying any release order issued by a federal judge, when the government objects,” the blog says.

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