Originally Posted by jcat
I'd always assumed that the same rights applied to anyone detained for any reason, but I was obviously wrong about that. Perhaps Jim can offer some clarification.
As usual, you have put your finger right on one of the significant issues in the "enemy combatant" cases.
There are other "enemy combatant" cases finding their way into the judicial system, many of which were taken on the field in Afghanistan, and most, if not all the others, are nationals of countries other than the U.S., including the UK and Australia. Hamdi and Padilla are distinct, however, in that they are both citizens of the U.S. Between themselves they differ in that one was captured overseas, and the other was arrested here in his own country, the USA.
Therefore Hamdi and Padilla squarely raise the issue of the rights, if any, of citizens of the U.S. who George Bush has unilaterally, in no way governed, declared to be "enemy combatants," and, as a subset, they raise the issue of whether there is a distinction based upon where they were seized.
The larger issue you touch upon, whether certain, some, most, or all U. S. constitutional rights depend upon U.S. citizenship remains to be addressed. So, the court has the "easier" cases before it, but do not be surprised to see a distinction made between the two cases based upon where they were apprehended.
In brief, in the Hamdi case the court has before it the issue of whether our Constitution provides for due process of law, whatever that is, to Hamdi, a U.S. citizen apprehended while arguably engaging in armed combat against the U.S. in a foreign country.
In the Padilla case, on the other hand, the court is faced with perhaps the easier issue of a U.S. citizen apprehended in the U.S. but declared by the president to be an "enemy combatant."
Of course if the court decides that either Hamdi or Padilla are entitled to (certain?) constitutional protections, that does not dispose of the question of apprehended citizens of other countries declared by Bush to be enemy combatants. The position of the Bush administration is that the Bill of Rights and other individual liberties within the basic text of the Constitution do not in any case apply to noncitizens.
This is in the face of provisions in our Constitution like the 5th Amendment, which provides that "NO PERSON ... shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;..." It does not say "no citizen;" it says "no person."
This larger question must await the case of a noncitizen held in the Guantanamo naval prison moving upstairs into the appellate judicial system. Splits on this question are seen in the U. S. Courts of Appeals, and the issue will have to be decided by the Supreme Court, unless it sidesteps the question, which the current court is adept at doing.
I hope this helps somewhat. Thank goodness there are those like you who focus on what is happening in our country.