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RASUL et al. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, et al - 542 U.S. 466 (2004)

RASUL et al. v. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE
UNITED STATES, et al.

CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMIBA CIRCUIT

No. 03-334. Argued April 20, 2004--Decided June 28, 2004*

Pursuant to Congress' joint resolution authorizing the use of necessary and appropriate force against nations, organizations, or persons that planned, authorized, committed, or aided in the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda terrorist attacks, the President sent Armed Forces into Afghanistan to wage a military campaign against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime that had supported it. Petitioners, 2 Australians and 12 Kuwaitis captured abroad during the hostilities, are being held in military custody at the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Naval Base, which the United States occupies under a lease and treaty recognizing Cuba's ultimate sovereignty, but giving this country complete jurisdiction and control for so long as it does not abandon the leased areas. Petitioners filed suits under federal law challenging the legality of their detention, alleging that they had never been combatants against the United States or engaged in terrorist acts, and that they have never been charged with wrongdoing, permitted to consult counsel, or provided access to courts or other tribunals. The District Court construed the suits as habeas petitions and dismissed them for want of jurisdiction, holding that, under Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U. S. 763, aliens detained outside United States sovereign territory may not invoke habeas relief. The Court of Appeals affirmed.

Held: United States courts have jurisdiction to consider challenges to the legality of the detention of foreign nationals captured abroad in connection with hostilities and incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay. Pp. 4-17.


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