Thursday, May 22, 2008

CAAF dismisses Gitmo detainees' petition for extraordinary relief

On 27 February 2008, counsel for several Guantanamo detainees filed a petition for a writ of mandamus at CAAF, seeking an order directing the United States to treat the detainees as POWs.

CAAF clearly has no jurisdiction to issue the requested writ. As the Supreme Court emphasized in Clinton v. Goldsmith, CAAF is authorized to issue writs only if they are "'in aid of' its strictly circumscribed jurisdiction to review court-martial findings and sentences under 10 U.S.C. § 867." Clinton v. Goldsmith, 526 U.S. 529, 531 (1999). Nevertheless, in a truly surprising move, CAAF issued a show cause order on 13 March 2008. In re Ali, __ M.J. ___, Misc. No. 08-8013/NA (C.A.A.F. Mar. 13, 2008).

Yesterday CAAF dismissed the petition, but not because it concluded it was without jurisdiction. Rather, "In view of the pending proceedings in other federal courts, and without deciding the question of jurisdiction, it is ordered that said petition is hereby dismissed without prejudice." Ali v. United States, __ M.J. ___, Misc. No. 08-8013/NA (C.A.A.F. May 21, 2008) (summary disposition).


Anonymous said...

Did anyone really think that CAAF was going to take any action in this case? And based upon their view of jurisdiction I am not surprised they didn't affirmatively state they had no jurisdiction. Certainly an interesting approach by the defense. I am wondering what their strategic goal was in bringing this claim to CAAF as I assume they knew they'd get no relief.

Mike "No Man" Navarre said...

I am guessing htey were hoping for an opinion stating CAAF had no jurisdiction (or in their . . . best . . . dreams, saying they did have jurisdiction). Such a ruling would seem to provide incremental support to their law of war and habeas arguments. CAAF's ruling was quite crafty and avoided having any role in the mess that involves numerous habeas petitions and cert. petitions being filed concurrently with trials based on the MCA and appeals within that system.

Anonymous said...

Very Shrewd -- either Marbury v. Madison or...shameless judicial activism.