Lawyers for Mr. Rumsfeld and the other military officials, urged the high court to reject the appeal.
“Petitioners seek to provide enemy combatants fighting against the United States with damages remedies that are clearly unavailable" to US soldiers, Washington Attorney Richard Klingler wrote in his brief on behalf of the defendants in the suit.
“This court has repeatedly emphasized that courts should hesitate before intruding into matters where sensitive interests in national security and foreign affairs are at stake,” Mr. Klingler told the justices.
Padilla was arrested in 2002 shortly after arriving in Chicago from the Middle East. He was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and initially held in the criminal justice system in New York. On the eve of a court-hearing seeking his release, the government designated Padilla an enemy combatant and transferred him to a military brig in South Carolina.
Bush administration officials justified his detention in military custody with the alarming accusation that Padilla was plotting with Al Qaeda to launch an imminent radiological “dirty bomb” attack on a US city.
That allegation was later dropped. Nonetheless, Padilla was subjected to a systematic regime of extreme isolation, sensory deprivation, stress positions, and other controversial behavior-modification techniques designed to facilitate his ongoing interrogation. Time was of the essence, according to government officials. Extreme measures were deemed necessary and were approved by senior officials.