Monday, November 4, 2013

Rasul v. Bush case brief

Rasul v. Bush case brief summary
542 U.S. 466 (2004)

Petitioner aliens filed various actions challenging the legality of their detention at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. They invoked the court's jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C.S. §§ 1331and 1350 and asserted various causes of action including federal habeas corpus. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed dismissal for want of jurisdiction. The aliens petitioned for a writ of certiorari.

  • The U.S. military had held the aliens, along with approximately 640 other non-Americans captured abroad, at the Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. 
  • The court distinguished them from the Eisentrager detainees in important respects: They were not nationals of countries at war with the United States, and they denied that they have engaged in or plotted acts of aggression against the United States; they had never been afforded access to any tribunal, much less charged with and convicted of wrongdoing; and for more than two years they had been imprisoned in territory over which the United States exercised exclusive jurisdiction and control. 
  • No party questioned the district court's jurisdiction over the aliens' custodians. 
  • The court held that 28 U.S.C.S. § 2241 required nothing more and that it conferred on the district court jurisdiction to hear the habeas corpus challenges. 
  • Furthermore, the fact that the aliens were being held in military custody was immaterial to the question of the district court's jurisdiction over their nonhabeas statutory claims. 28 U.S.C.S. § 1350 explicitly conferred the privilege of suing for an actionable tort on aliens.


The judgment of the circuit court was reversed and the case was remanded for the district court to consider in the first instance the merits of the aliens' claims.

Recommended Supplements for Criminal Procedure Criminal Procedure: Examples & Explanations, Sixth Edition
Emanuel Law Outline: Criminal Procedure

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