Copy of Padilla Indictment

by Roger Alford

A copy of the Padilla indictment is available from ABC news here. The blogosphore is abuzz with the news. Discussion can be found at SCOTUSblog here, Prawfblawgs here, and Balkinization here.

I’m a little surprised by the reaction I’ve seen so far. Isn’t this somewhat analogous to the Bush Administration’s response in Medellin? In that case at the last minute the Bush Administration ordered state court compliance with the ICJ’s judgment. It effectively killed the Supreme Court case, but it also resulted in real progress in the case at hand. Medellin’s counsel was quite pleased with the development. I also recall most international scholars and practitioners were cautiously optimistic about the Bush Administration’s strategic move.

Now at the last minute the Bush Administration has indicted Padilla. The Supreme Court case is now in jeapardy, but haven’t critics been asking for a release or indictment all along? Now they’ve got one. Sure it came on the eve of a briefing deadline before the Supreme Court, but isn’t it still a victory for Padilla? As his lawyer put it recently, “I may be the first lawyer to stand here and say I’m asking for my client to be indicted by a federal grand jury.” I would welcome thoughts on whether others agree or disagree.

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