DC Courts and Detainee Petitions

by Kenneth Anderson

Stuart Taylor, the eminent legal affairs columnist for National Journal, writes this week on the vexed issue of the detainee cases.  This sentence in particular caught my eye:

So clogged with detainee cases are the federal courts in D.C. that they may not have time to conduct any ordinary civil trials this spring or summer.

Stuart is a very diligent journalist, so I will take him at that – I must admit, although no expert in litigation and procedure, I was startled.  (Stuart, if you wanted to fill this in more for us a bit more, I’d certainly be delighted to hear from you.)


5 Responses

  1. AGB – thanks for the link!

  2. DC federal courts too clogged for civil trials
    Ken–Thanks. My basis for saying the federal district courts in DC have no time these days for civil trials was a recent Legal Times report (which someone else has linked) quoting Chief Judge Royce Lamberth. – Stuart

    Best, Stuart

  3. The comment was meant to illustrate the necessity of filling judicial vacancies quickly in order to keep the court system running smoothly. For months now, the Guantanamo docket has weighed down on the district court, where there are roughly 220 habeas claims pending. The court has been hampered by three vacancies, and judges have been quick to note the logistical problems Guantanamo has created. Lamberth said criminal cases would go on in order to meet speedy trial requirements. ”

    Sounds like another form of budge pitch by the judge.  Also, I suspect that civil trial dates are pretty hard to get at all times given the primacy given to criminal cases.  I guess this is the downside of centralizing all these Gitmo cases in one place – but that is another cost coming out of the enemy combatant game started back in 2001 by the prior Administration.  GC would have made it much simpler and economical.  Problem of panic and improvisation.


  4. Stuart, thanks – folks, it’s the link above in the comments to Legal Times.  Fascinating.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

  1. There are no trackbacks or pingbacks associated with this post at this time.