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Supreme Court OKs Torture on U.S. Soil (or anywhere else)
Or at least makes sure no one can be punished for it. From Wired:
The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a lower court decision that said federal officials cannot be sued for damages for the torture of Americans on U.S. soil.
Without comment, the justices set aside a petition (.pdf) from Jose Padilla, the so-called “dirty bomber.” Padilla claims high-ranking Defense Department officials and others are liable for developing “the global detention and interrogation policies” that paved the way for his torture while he was secretly held without charges at a Navy brig in South Carolina for more than three years.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in January ruled that the judiciary had no role in the matter.
Special factors do counsel judicial hesitation in implying causes of action for enemy combatants held in military detention. First, the Constitution delegates authority over military affairs to Congress and to the president as commander in chief. It contemplates no comparable role for the judiciary. Second, judicial review of military decisions would stray from the traditional subjects of judicial competence. Litigation of the sort proposed thus risks impingement on explicit constitutional assignments of responsibility to the coordinate branches of our government.
Ben Wizner, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing Padilla, said the high court’s move gives the government a blank check “to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison.”