A federal judge placed 16 lawsuits by Guantánamo Bay detainees on hold Wednesday, saying he may no longer have jurisdiction to hear their cases.
U.S. District Court Judge Reggie B. Walton in Washington said the Military Commissions Act, signed into law in October, has left him unable to consider whether the detainees can challenge being held at the Marine facility in Cuba.
An appeals court in Washington is considering whether civilian jurists can rule on those cases. Until that issue is resolved, Walton said, “it is this court’s view that it lacks the authority to take any action in these cases.”
Walton’s six-page order denying the motions challenging detention of the 16 men left open the possibility of refiling the requests if the appeals court decides civilian courts can review detainee cases.
If the appeals panel ”concludes that this court retains some degree of jurisdiction over any or all of the above-captioned cases, the matters will be automatically reopened as appropriate,” he wrote.