'De Facto Sovereignty': Boumediene and Beyond

54 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2008 Last revised: 2 Jun 2009

See all articles by Anthony J. Colangelo

Anthony J. Colangelo

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Date Written: September 29, 2008


In Boumediene v. Bush, which grants non-citizens detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, constitutional habeas corpus privileges the Supreme Court took notice that the United States maintains "de facto sovereignty" over that territory. As its sole precedential support, the Court cited a case that never mentions the term de facto sovereignty. What is this concept? How important is it to the Court's holding? Did the Court get the concept right given its longstanding usage and meaning in Supreme Court precedent? And what can de facto sovereignty tell us about when the Court will find habeas to extend to other situations involving extraterritorial detention of non-citizens in the war on terror?

Suggested Citation

Colangelo, Anthony J., 'De Facto Sovereignty': Boumediene and Beyond (September 29, 2008). George Washington Law Review, Vol. 77, 2009; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 00-29. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1275413

Anthony J. Colangelo (Contact Author)

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States
2147682372 (Phone)

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