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The Old D.C. Circuit Switcheroo

Gabe Rottman,
Legislative Counsel,
ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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April 25, 2007

More on the Justice Department’s petition to dismiss the 200+ pending habeas petitions at the D.C. District Court, in favor of the limited Detainee Treatment Act CSRT review (once again, pronounced “C-Cert,” like the breath mint). From the Legal Times [sub. req’d]:

If granted, the dismissals would not mean an end to the claims of unlawful imprisonment but would require that detainees refile their cases — that is, start from scratch — in the D.C. Circuit. Although the two courts share the same building, philosophically speaking, they’re worlds apart. At the district court, detainees have had some luck persuading trial judges to rule in their favor, while the much more conservative D.C. Circuit bench has blocked nearly every effort by detainees to litigate. David Remes, an attorney for some of the detainees, says, ‘Dismissal would leave the government with total control over every aspect of our relationship with our clients’ until the D.C. Circuit determines how to handle the petitions. Of course, the cases have effectively been on hold since questions were first raised about whether the district court is the correct forum for hearing the appeals. And some cases have already been dismissed. The Justice Department said in a statement that the move ‘does not mean that counsel visits with detainees will come to an end’ but that ‘moving forward, priority will be given to counsel for detainees pursuing litigation in the Court of Appeals.’

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