Thursday, November 14, 2013

Boumediene v. Bush case brief

Boumediene v. Bush case brief summary
128 S. Ct. 2229 (2008)

Petitioner alien detainees sought writs of habeas corpus. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit held that 28 U.S.C.S. § 2241(e) stripped it and all federal courts of jurisdiction to consider the habeas corpus applications and that the detainees were not entitled to the privilege of the writ or the protections of the Suspension Clause, U.S. Constitutional Article I, § 9, clause 2. Certiorari was granted.

The issue was whether the detainees had the constitutional privilege of habeas corpus. 28 U.S.C.S. § 2241(e) denied the federal courts jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus actions pending at the time of its enactment. Thus, if the statute was valid, the detainees' cases had to be dismissed.


  • The detainees were entitled to habeas corpus to challenge their detention as the Military Commissions Act did not formally suspend the writ. The Suspension Clause, U.S. Constitutional Article I, § 9, clause 2, had full effect at Guantanamo Bay. 
  • In order to deny habeas corpus, therefore, Congress had to act in conformance with the Suspension Clause. 
  • The procedures set forth in the Detainee Treatment Act, 109 Pub. L. No. 148, 119 Stat. 2680, were not an adequate and effective substitute for habeas corpus as detainees were not allowed to present exculpatory evidence that was not part of the record in the Combatant Status Review Tribunal proceedings. 
  • Thus, 28 U.S.C.S. § 2241(e) effected an unconstitutional suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. 
  • The detainees were not required to exhaust the review procedures in the appellate court before proceeding with their habeas actions given the already lengthy delay.

The judgment was reversed. The consolidated cases were remanded to the district court for further proceedings. 5-4 decision; 1 concurrence; 2 dissents.

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