Legal Rights of Enemy Combatants

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photoThis morning the U.S. Supreme Court heard the oral arguments in the cases of Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Rumsfeld v. Padilla. The court must decide whether the U.S. government can indefinitely detain American citizens as "unlawful enemy combatants" without bringing charges or even allowing them access to legal representation.

Yaser Hamdi was born in Louisiana, grew up in Saudi Arabia, and was caught in Afghanistan in November 2001, allegedly fighting for the Taliban. Jose Padilla was born in Brooklyn, raised in Chicago, and introduced to Islam by his Taco Bell manager in Florida. He first caught the attention of the U.S. government when an Al Qaeda official claimed under interrogation that Padilla was involved in a dirty bomb plot.

Click the "Listen" link to hear whether the White House has gone too far or taken necessary steps to protect the United States.


Emily Bazelon, senior editor, Legal Affairs Magazine. She is a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School.

Anthony Lewis, former columnist for the New York Times for 32 years. He received two Pulitzer prizes for his reporting on the Supreme Court and the Justice Department. He is author of "Make No Law: The Sullivan Case and the First Amendment."

Andrew McCarthy, former federal prosecutor who led the 1995 terrorism case against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, who was convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He is a consultant at the Investigative Project in Washington, which gathers intelligence on militant Islamic activities, and is a frequent contributor to the National Review magazine.

This program aired on April 28, 2004.


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