United States Supreme Court Decisions
Below are a list of cases where the Government of the United States’ conduct related to prosecuting terrorism related offences was successfully challenged. This demonstrates that the Government does not always abide by the constitution, and, on many occasions, it acts unlawfully and outside its authority. It can also be argued that the way the Government acted in Muhannad’s case did not meet the standards established by the Supreme Court.
Fifth Amendment due process guarantees give a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant the right to contest that detention before a neutral decisionmaker.
Here, it is likely that the “neutrality of the decisionmaker” standard was not met. The jury’s conduct demonstrated that it was prejudicial; either unreliable, or biased and not neutral. The jury had conflicting accounts on what had happened in the elevator when some of its members encountered Muhanad’s father. Some jurors alleged they heard things that other jurors claimed they did not hear. This demonstrates that the jurors are not reliable, or that they are biased and either; repeated accounts they heard in the news, or outright fabricated; or, perhaps both.
The court ruled that the statutory right to habeas corpus was not dependent on citizenship status and that, according to precedent reaching back to at least the mid-seventeenth century in the English Common Law, the right to habeas corpus can be exercised in “all…dominions under the sovereign’s control.” In this case, that included the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay. The court found that U.S. courts did have jurisdiction to hear the detainees’ cases.
The Court found that the President had no inherent constitutional authority to establish these military tribunals. It then held that Congress had at most authorized military commissions that complied with the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the law of war. Because Hamdan’s trial had violated the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions, it, therefore, exceeded the President’s authority and was illegal.
In 2006, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the U.S. government, alleging that the program was an overreach of executive power that violated, among other provisions, the First and Fourth Amendments. The trial court ruled in favor of the ACLU, agreeing that the program violated Americans’ constitutional rights. The decision was overruled by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on standing grounds, and not on the merits of the decision.