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Lawyers Praise Second Circuit Padilla V. Rumsfeld

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

December 18, 2003


NATIONAL LAWYERS GUILD PRAISES SECOND CIRCUIT
PADILLA v. RUMSFELD DECISION

The National Lawyers Guild announced today that it was thrilled with the decision of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Padilla v. Rumsfeld, holding that President Bush does not have the unilateral authority to hold as “enemy combatants” American citizens taken into custody on our soil. Michael Avery, the President of the National Lawyers Guild and a constitutional law professor at Suffolk Law School in Boston, said that several of President Bush’s actions in pursuit of the "War on Terrorism" suggest that the President holds the American constitutional system of checks and balances in contempt.

“It is essential in our democracy that the Judicial Branch review the actions of the President and require that he obey the Constitution,” Avery said. He continued, “The President has arrogated to himself the right to hold both citizens and immigrants prisoner, without any judicial determination of probable cause that they have committed crimes, without affording them the right to see lawyers, without giving them rudimentary due process of law, and with no prospect of bringing their cases to trial in proper courts. This is completely foreign to our constitutional system. The fact that the court rejected the government’s position and ruled in favor of Mr. Padilla’s rights is heartening.”

The National Lawyers Guild, founded in 1937, comprises over 6,000 members and activists in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests.

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