Court To US: Get It Together, Wouldja Please?

Leave the ideological arguments out of it for once and just acknowledge that these people suck at their jobs:

The same court that had granted the administration wide latitude in holding Padilla without charges or a court appearance now is suggesting that the detention was a mistake. As a result, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit said prosecutors could not take custody of Padilla from the military and take him to Miami, where he now faces indictment on terrorism charges.

In issuing its denial, the court cited the government’s changing rationale for Padilla’s detention, questioning why it used one set of arguments before federal judges deciding whether it was legal for the military to hold Padilla and another set before the Miami grand jury.

Padilla, a U.S. citizen who was arrested in Chicago in 2002, initially was accused of plotting to detonate a radiological “dirty bomb,” declared an enemy combatant and held for more than three years in Defense Department custody. But in the criminal charges brought last month, the government does not mention the alleged bomb plot or any attack in the United States.

The government’s actions have left “the impression that Padilla may have been held for these years, even if justifiably, by mistake,” the court wrote. That impression, the judges said, may hurt the government’s “credibility before the courts.”

That’ll leave a mark.