Boumediene vs. Bush Case

In this case, L Boumediene were captured in Afghanistan and detained in Guatemala Bay, Cuba following the CSRT designated him as an enemy combatant under the MCA and DTA Acts.  He requested a habeas corpus as he was not a member of any terrorist outfits in Afghanistan, but the District Court dismissed this decision based on the lack of jurisdiction.  As he was deemed as an enemy combatant, the DC could not hear a case of habeas corpus from him.  He appealed before the Supreme Court praying for review of DTA as it was not an adequate substitute for habeas corpus.

Under Art 1 Sec 9 of the US Constitution, habeas corpus cannot be suspended, unless it is found of rebellion or invasion of public safety.  He prayed for deeming the MCA as unconstitutional.  The Constitution provides power for the President and the Congress to acquire, dispose and govern the territory.  The Congress and the President did not have the power to decide the situations under which the terms of the constitution would apply. When the US Administration is acting outside its borders, the powers it has is not absolute or unlimited but subject to the limits as mentioned in the Constitution.  Justice Scalia decided to strike down the term ‘enemy combatant’ which provided for protection, and such a term would only be applicable in case of an ongoing military conflict following investigation and debate.  He designated the system failed because it did not apply to check the detainees, but to exercise federal control.  The DTA system is strike down because it cannot be an adequate substitute for habeas corpus and the rights possessed by the detainees cannot be corrected by the DTA system.

The Chief Justice opposed the DTA system as did not afford any protection in comparison to habeas corpus.  According to him, the detainees had the right to test the legality of their detention, and this limited process had to be supplied by the military tribunal.  This is required as a due process right to the detainee.


Dycus, S. Berney, A.L., Banks, W.C. (2016). National Security Law, Fifth Edition (Aspen Casebooks). Wolter Kluwer, New York.

FIND Law (2016). Boumediene v. Bush 553 U.S. ___ (2008). Retrieved on March 21, 2016, from:


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