Today the government filed a short response to the detainees' petition for an en banc rehearing in Hatim v. Obama, the Guantanamo counsel-access case.
Recall that last month the D.C. Circuit ordered the United States to respond to a joint motion filed by Saeed Mohammed Saleh Hatim, Abdurrahman al-Shubati and Fadel Hentif. The detainees are seeking review of a three-judge panel’s August 1, 2014 decision reversing D.C. District Chief Judge Royce Lamberth, who ruled back in July 2013 that Guantanamo security procedures, including genital searches before and after detainees meet with their lawyers, unconstitutionally interfered with detainees' access to counsel.
Petitioners argued that Chief Judge Lamberth was correct in finding that (1) the deferential Turner v. Safely standard for determining the constitutionality of prison regulations was inapplicable to policies that burden detainees' access to habeas counsel, and (2) the security procedures fail the Turner standard.
In its new filing, the government refutes both points, contending that the three-judge panel (1) was correct in holding that Turner applies to the military detention context and to habeas claims, and (2) appropriately deferred to Guantanamo officials' assessment of the prison's security needs in determining the contested polices meet the standard.
For background on the proceedings, check out our summary of the petitioners' brief.