The Fourth Circuit denied a Bush administration request to transfer terrorism suspect Jose Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, from military to civilian law enforcement custody. The panel also refused the administration's request to vacate a September ruling that gave President Bush wide authority to detain ''enemy combatants'' indefinitely without charges on U.S. soil. According to the panel:
Because we believe that the transfer of Padilla and the withdrawal of our opinion at the government's request while the Supreme Court is reviewing this court's decision of September 9 would compound what is, in the absence of explanation, at least an appearance that the government may be attempting to avoid consideration of our decision by the Supreme Court, and also because we believe that this case presents an issue of such especial national importance as to warrant final consideration by that court, even if only by denial of further review, we deny both the motion and suggestion. If the natural progression of this significant litigation to conclusion is to be pretermitted at this late date under these circumstances, we believe that decision should be made not by this court but, rather, by the Supreme Court of the United States.