The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by American-born terror suspect Jose Padilla, with the justices declining to decide if President Bush can order American citizens to be held as enemy combatants without criminal charges.

Padilla was arrested in Chicago in 2002 and was held without charges by the U.S. military for more than three years. In January, he was transferred from military to civilian custody and was indicted on charges of being part of a North American terrorist cell.

In a 6-to-3 vote Monday, the high court decided not to hear the case, arguing that his appeal of his indefinite detention without charges is pointless because he is now facing criminal charges in Florida.

Defense lawyers for Padilla argued that President Bush overstepped his authority in retaining Padilla without legal rights.

The Bush administration defended its actions, saying Congress approved detention of terrorists in 2001 when it authorized the president to use force in response to the Sept. 11 attacks.

When Padilla was arrested in 2002, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft said Padilla was planning to detonate a radioactive bomb in an American city. This allegation was not included in the criminal charges he now faces.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, Bloomberg and Reuters.