"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Federal Appeals court rejects indefinite detention challenge

Court defends Obama's right to jail you
Military prison without a lawyer or trial based
on allegations of ‘substantially supporting’ or
‘directly supporting’ unspecified ‘associated
forces’ of our nation’s enemies.

The Growing American Police State  -  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently rejected a challenge to the sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that could allow for indefinite military detention of those who are suspected of "substantially" supporting terrorism. 

Whatever the Hell "substantially" means.

As we have previously covered (here, here, here and elsewhere), the suit was brought by journalists and activists concerned about being subjected to indefinite military detention if they interviewed or interacted with groups deemed hostile to the US. At the trial stage, a federal district court recognized the statute’s constitutional faults.

In her 2012 rulings, Judge Katherine Forrest prohibited military detention based on allegations of ‘substantially supporting’ or ‘directly supporting’ unspecified ‘associated forces’ of our nation’s enemies, finding that the plaintiffs could likely show that the NDAA violated the First Amendment, that it was overly vague, and that it violated the Fifth Amendment reports the Tenth Amendment Center.

The government appealed the ruling, prompting BORDC and other groups to file briefs with the appeals court highlighting the grave historical and present concerns with unchecked indefinite detention.

Earlier this month, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit overturned the lower court’s ruling. The appeals court held that Section 1021 of the NDAA does not control the government’s ability to detain American citizens and thus the citizen plaintiffs had no standing to have their challenge heard. Further the court ruled that the non-citizen plaintiffs could not demonstrate a “sufficient basis to fear detention under the statute” and as such, they also had no standing.

Essentially, the court held that under their interpretation the government could not use the particular law challenged by the plaintiffs to militarily detain them, so they had no basis for the court to hear their case.

Importantly, the court acknowledged that this doesn’t mean that the government could not rely on other laws, including the now over a decade old law authorizing military force in response to the events of September 11th, to justify indefinite military detention of citizens.

The court held:
Section 1021 says nothing at all about the authority of the government to detain citizens. There simply is no threat whatsoever that they could be detained pursuant to that section. While it is true that Section 1021(e) does not foreclose the possibility that previously “existing law” may permit the detention of American citizens in some circumstances—a possibility that Hamdi clearly envisioned in any event—Section 1021 cannot itself be challenged as unconstitutional by citizens on the grounds advanced by plaintiffs because as to them it neither adds to nor subtracts from whatever authority would have existed in its absence.

Indefinite Detention of Americans under NDAA Bill 

A Democrat Senate and President join with the "Conservative"
small government Republican House to jail Americans
without a trial.  God help us.

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