Boumediene v. Bush

U.S. Case Law

Legal Definition of Boumediene v. Bush

553 U.S. 723 (2008), held that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 unconstitutionally suspended the writ of habeas corpus. Boumediene was the fifth in a series of cases to reach the Court concerning the detention of prisoners held as a result of the United States' response to the 2001 attacks by the terrorist group al Qaeda. In Rumsfeld v. Padilla, 542 U.S. 426 (2004), the Court ruled on procedural and jurisdictional grounds, finding that Padilla's choice of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld as respondent to his habeas petition rather than his immediate custodian, commander of the brig in which he was held, as well as the location of filing the petition, was improper. In Rasul v. Bush, 542 U.S. 466 (2004), the Court found that U.S. federal courts had jurisdiction to hear habeas petitions brought by detainees held at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. In Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004), the Court found that an American citizen held as an enemy combatant has a right under the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to have his detention reviewed by a neutral decision maker. In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, 548 U.S. 557 (2006), the Court held that the Constitution vests Congress with the authority to declare war and make rules concerning captured individuals and their punishment, and that by convening military commissions to try detainees, the President had overstepped his constitutional authority and that the commissions violated the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Conventions. After the Court's decision in Hamdan, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which eliminated federal jurisdiction over habeas petitions from enemy combatants held in Guantanamo. In Boumediene, the Court held that the Act violated the Suspension Clause of the Constitution and that the prisoners were entitled to due process protection under the Fifth Amendment and to protection under the Geneva Conventions.

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Cite this Entry

“Boumediene v. Bush.” Merriam-Webster.com Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/legal/Boumediene%20v.%20Bush. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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