"as the government must surely understand," it has left "the impression" that Padilla may have been held for these years "by mistake, an impression we would have thought the government could ill afford to leave extant."These, the words of arch-conservative Michael Luttig, denying a motion to void a ruling on the President's right to hold citizens indefinitely.
Jose Padilla has been in a military prison for 3 years, supposedly because he couldn't be tried in civilian courts. When it started looking like the Supreme Court might get involved in the issue, they suddenly decided to move him into those civilian courts.
Luttig and the rest of the court felt that that move indicated something disingenuous about the arguments that lead to a ruling in favor of the power to hold Padilla indefinitely.
Luttig concluded that the move had:
left the impression that the government may even have come to the belief that the principle … that the President possesses the authority to detain enemy combatants … can, in the end, yield to expediency with little or no cost to its conduct of the war against terror -- an impression we would have thought the government likewise could ill afford to leave extant.Especially as expediency seems to be all that could possibly support the practice of spying on citizens without a warrant.