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Court hears main 'enemy combatant' case

April 28, 2004 at 1:51 PM

WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Wednesday on whether a U.S. citizen arrested on U.S. soil can be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant."

The case involves Jose Padilla, who was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport in May 2002. The government says he plotted with al-Qaida leaders in Pakistan to detonate a radioactive bomb in an undetermined U.S. city.

But the goverment argues Padilla, who has not been charged with a crime, does not have the right to a lawyer or access to the U.S. courts after being declared an "enemy combatant" by the president.

"Never before in this nation's history has this court handed the president a blank check to imprison citizens," said Stanford law professor Jennifer Martinez, speaking on Padilla's behalf before the Supreme Court.

Deputy Solicitor General Paul Clement told the court a congressional resolution authorizing the president to use all necessary force after the Sept. 11 attacks also contained the authority to detain enemy combatants.

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