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The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit last week denied the Bush administration’s request for a rehearing in a closely watched case involving the legal rights of Guant�namo Bay detainees. In July, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the government must turn over all “reasonably available” information about detainees who are challenging their status as “enemy combatants.” In the opinion, handed down Oct. 3, Chief Judge Douglas Ginsburg accused the government — which had argued that the July ruling placed too much of a burden on it — of “overreading.” Defense Department regulations, he wrote, clearly state that the government is responsible only for “the relevant information in its possession that is reasonably available” and suggested that the government was trying to track down records that fall outside that definition. Bingham McCutchen partner Susan Baker Manning, who is representing a group of detainees in the case, says the ruling is a “clear victory” for her clients, but it raises issues about what, exactly, “reasonably available” can be taken to mean. “We won’t know until the government goes through the process,” she says. The Justice Department declined to comment on the ruling.
Joe Palazzolo can be contacted at [email protected].

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