The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday announced that it would not review a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their alleged roles in the detention and torture of a U.S. citizen.
"The Supreme Court's refusal to consider Jose Padilla's case leaves in place a blank check for government officials to commit any abuse in the name of national security, even the brutal torture of an American citizen in an American prison," said Ben Wizner, the ACLU's lead counsel on the case. "To date, not a single victim of the Bush administration's torture regime has received his day in court. It is precisely the role of the courts to ensure that allegations of grave misconduct by executive Branch officials receive fair adjudication. That vital role does not evaporate simply because those officials insist that their actions are too sensitive for judicial review."
Padilla, a convicted terrorist, had sued Rumsfeld and other U.S. officials over his alleged torture at the naval base, but a district court judge granted Rumsfeld immunity and dismissed the case, Padilla v. Rumsfeld. In April, Padilla's mother and the ACLU asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate the lawsuit.
"Tell me where in the Constitution it says that torturing Americans is acceptable," Estela Lebron, Padilla's mother, said. "You don't even treat an animal the way my son was treated. If they can do this to Jose, they can do it to anyone. I'm going to continue fighting until justice has been done for my son."
This is scary to me! Some years ago I read a similar story in the Reader's Digest. It told of a foreign visitor in NYC getting arrested as he photographed buildings. One of the arresting officers took an interest in the aftermath and found him behind bars and not charged for weeks. Without his interest in the case, the man would likely still be behind bars!
Are we doing things since 9/11 which endanger the due process provisions of our Constitution?