Why Padilla matters

There are two main threads of reasoning that the administration has offered when pushed to justify its questionable actions. The first is the Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) which was passed by Congress in the week following September 11, 2001. It specifically pertains to actions against al Qaeda, but the administration has claimed that it provides justification for their supra-legal wiretaps.

The second justification is that President Bush's powers as Commander in Chief allow him to do whatever he deems necessary in the War on Terror (an interesting legal argument that deems anything that stands in his way, even Congressional legislation, unconstitutional).

The only court cases thus far that deal with these issues are detainee cases -- most notably, Jose Padilla. For anyone concerned about, or simply interested in, the extent of executive power, read the text of the AUMF, and the details about how and why the Padilla case has become a crucial lithmus test of presidential power…and, how the administration has been desperately trying to make these cases disappear.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.