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Padilla v. Rumsfeld

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Brief Fact Summary. An American citizen was arrested upon his return to the U.S. from Pakistan and held as an enemy combatant.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. “The President does not have the power under Article II of the Constitution to detain as an enemy combatant an American citizen seized on American soil outside a zone of combat” without “clear congressional authorization.”

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

Statutory construction must begin with the language employed by Congress and the assumption that the ordinary meaning of that language accurately expresses the legislative purpose.

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Facts. Petitioner Padilla was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport upon his return from Pakistan on a material witness warrant. Subsequently, the President issued an order declaring petitioner an enemy combatant. He was held for 18 months without contact with counsel and his family. He appealed for a writ of habeas corpus via a “next friend” Newman.

Issue. Whether the President had sufficient power to hold Padilla as an enemy combatant.

Held. No. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that “the President lacks inherent constitutional authority

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