Appellant Reply Brief Filed in Suleiman

By Raffaela Wakeman
Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 9:36 PM

The appellant's reply brief is now available for Suleiman v. Obama. Petitioner Abdulrahman Suleiman challenges Judge Reggie Walton’s July 2010 decision denying him the writ of habeas corpus. Judge Walton found that the government’s evidence had established that Suleiman was a “part of” Al Qaeda and Taliban forces.

In his appeal, the petitioner argues that basic constitutional principles were violated by the district court’s ruling, and that the “part of” standard conflicts with two Supreme Court rulings. He also argues that Judge Walton erred by basing his ruling upon “negative inferences and unwarranted speculation.”

The reply brief summarizes Suleiman's argument as follows:

I. Under the AUMF the government was required to prove both that Suleiman was a member of the Taliban and that he engaged in, or purposefully and materially supported, hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners; the government did not meet this burden.

II. Assuming arguendo that the Court decides that the AUMF authorizes the government to imprison Suleiman based solely on proof that he was a part of the TaIiban, the AUMF violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment because: (l) that test is void for vagueness; and (2) Suleiman may not be imprisoned solely on the basis of Taliban membership.

III. The Ex Post Facto Clause prohibits reliance on evidence as to events preceding the effective date of the AUMF.

IV. Assuming arguendo that the AUMF authorizes the government to imprison Suleiman on the basis that he was part of the Taliban, the government did not meet its burden of proof.

The appellant's brief is available here and government's brief can be reviewed here. Oral arguments have not yet been scheduled.