The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday sought the dismissal of all pending Guantanamo Bay detainee habeas corpus cases in the US District Court for the District of Columbia. The motion to dismiss was filed in response to the US Supreme Court denying petitions for certiorari earlier this month on two cases challenging the Military Commissions Act (MCA). The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit had upheld the habeas-stripping provisions of the act in February. In Thursday's motion, the DOJ argued that February's motion, and this month's denial of cert, means that all litigation should be in the DC Circuit. The DOJ stressed that lawyers will continue to be allowed to meet with their clients during a "reasonable transition period," but in the future, client-visit priority will be given to lawyers who are pursuing litigation in the DC Circuit court.
The MCA, signed into law last October, denies federal courts the right to hear habeas corpus petitions. Shortly after the bill was enacted, the DOJ notified the DC Circuit that it no longer had authority to hear such cases. The court had stayed the almost 200 cases affected by the act, pending the legal challenges to the MCA.