The Bush administration has backed down from one of its most unconstitutional actions: the indefinite detention of an American citizen without due process.
Three years after the Bush administration labeled U.S. citizen Jose Padilla an enemy combatant and denied him normal access to the courts, he's facing criminal charges that he trained as a terrorist in preparation to fight a jihad.
An indictment unsealed in Miami on Tuesday accuses Padilla and four other men of being part of a North American terror cell that sent money and recruits overseas to "murder, maim and kidnap." If convicted, Padilla could face life in prison. Two others charges, providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy, carry maximum prison terms of 15 years each.
The spectacular allegations that led President Bush to classify Padilla an "enemy combatant" in 2002 — that the former Chicago gang member sought to blow up U.S. hotels and apartment buildings and planned an attack on America with a radiological "dirty bomb" — were not part of the indictment.
I don't doubt that Padilla is guilty, but he's not worth destroying the constitution. Give him his due process and fair trial, and send him away!