Civil Liberties

Supreme Court Vacates Decision Upholding Indefinite Detention

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Today the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to dismiss the case in which Ali al-Marri, an alleged Al Qaeda "sleeper agent," challenged his military detention. The Court agreed with the Obama administration that the case is moot now that Al-Marri, who was held in a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than six years, has been indicted in federal court and is about to be transferred back to civilian custody. At the same time, the Court vacated a decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit upheld the president's authority to indefinitely detain legal residents arrested in the United States as "enemy combatants" based on suspected ties to terrorism. The upshot is that if President Obama plans to use indefinite military detention for terrorism suspects, as his attorney general has suggested he does, the issue will be fought all over again in the federal courts.

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  1. I think this is absurd, Ali al-Marri, is guaranteed a “speedy” trial. This is clearly not one. Now watch as Mr. Nice Guy assumes I think Ali al-Marri should rot away in prison for eternity without a trial.

  2. If the president thinks he may be an enemy combatent, he can be held forever without trial.

  3. Jane, think about the politician you trust the least. In your mind assume that person may become President one day. Do you want that person to have that kind of power?

  4. Do you want that person to have that kind of power?

    Perhaps not.

  5. Non-Combatant: A dead Quaker.

    Ambrose Bierce

  6. Jane, think about the politician you trust the least. In your mind assume that person may become President one day. Do you want that person to have that kind of power?

    RC’z Fifth Iron Law:

    Any power being used for you today, will be used against you tomorrow.

  7. How does the Korematsu decision apply to these indefinite detentions?

  8. Not being a lawyer, I have only logic and moral sense to bring when considering these things. Of at least my working substitutes for logic and morality.

    And having switched this things on, I’ve gotta say: “Like hell it’s moot. If they wern’t entitled to hold him, they got some real ‘splain’n to do.”

    But that’s just me.

  9. ‘Al-Marri, who was held in a U.S. Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina, for more than six years, has been indicted in federal court and is about to be transferred back to civilian custody.’

    That would suggest that, right now, he’s still in the Navy brig. Once he’s out of the Navy brig and in civilian custody pursuant to his indictment, then the case may be moot. Right now, however, he is still under military detention, based on an executive order whose constitionality is in question. Wait until he’s actually out of the brig before calling his case moot.

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