The 9/11 2001 attacks have led to wars in Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) and the detention of thousands of individuals in centres in various countries including the Guantánamo Bay Naval Reserve in Cuba.
Most of the detainees have been held for over two years without charges or access to a lawyer. The detainees were not recognized by the US government as prisoners of war nor were they allowed to have their legal status determined by a competent tribunal as required by the Geneva Conventions.
The detention centres have become therefore a “legal black hole” where detainees have no legal status or legal rights. This situation led to a number of habeas corpus petitions being filed in 2002 on behalf of the detainees. These cases culminated in two very significant decisions of the Supreme Court in 2004, Rasul v Bush and Hamdi v Rumsfeld, establishing the jurisdiction of the federal courts over the habeas petitions as well as the due process rights of the detainees.
The American Bar Association (ABA) approved in August 2003 the recommendations of the Commission on the 21st Century Judiciary concerning the appointment procedure of state court judges: the preferred system of state court judicial selection should be a commission-based appointive system to guarantee an effective and unbiased judicial independence.
In addition, a segregated and independent budget is recommended for the judiciary as well as the establishment of independent commissions to fix judicial salaries.
United States of America-attacks on justice-2005 (full text, PDF)Attacks on Justice 2005Publications