Watching the En Banc Clock in al Bahlul

Just a friendly reminder that the government’s petition for rehearing en banc in the D.C. Circuit in al Bahlul v. United States remains pending… Al Bahlul’s response to the petition was filed on August 13, so the Court of Appeals has now had 34 days to vote. In case you’re scoring at home, it took exactly 34 days from the filing of al Bahlul’s response to the D.C. Circuit’s grant of the government’s petition for rehearing en banc last time around, so we should quickly be getting to the point (if we haven’t already) where a decision to grant the government’s new petition would be released.

Put another way, each day that goes by from here without such a decision makes it that much more likely that the Court of Appeals has instead voted to deny the petition, and is waiting to release an order to that effect until opinions dissenting from (and/or concurring in) that disposition have been completed. And while this may seem like a trivial exercise in clock-watching, the longer those dissents take to be filed, the less likely that this case could make its way onto the docket of the Supreme Court’s upcoming Term–only further prolonging the uncertainty that continues to loom over the current and future jurisdiction of the Guantánamo military commissions. 

Filed under:
About the Author(s)

Steve Vladeck

Co-Editor-in-Chief of Just Security and Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law. Follow him on Twitter (@steve_vladeck).