Appeals court kowtows to Obama administration, tentatively blocks indefinite detention ruling
By End the Lie
As I reported yesterday, the Obama administration snapped into action in their effort to overturn the decision of Judge Katherine Forrest which blocked the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA).
In a disturbing yet not all too surprising move, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals quickly stepped in and gave Obama exactly what he wanted in striking down Judge Forrest’s ruling which the White House claims is “dangerous” and a threat to national security.
Judge Raymond Lohier granted an interim stay based on the emergency petition (PDF courtesy of Threat Level) filed by the Obama administration yesterday and as you can see in the one page decision (PDF courtesy of Threat Level), the decision took less than 24 hours.
One would think that a longer period of deliberation would be required to come to a decision allowing the Obama administration to continue to operate in direct conflict with the Constitution of the United States of America, but apparently that was not the case.
I must wonder if that could have anything to do with the fact that Judge Raymond Lohier was nominated for the position by Barack Obama himself in 2010. After all, Obama said Lohier has “an unwavering commitment to fairness and judicial integrity,” according to a White House press release.
Apparently that unwavering commitment only exists until the executive branch tells him that justice is “dangerous” or a threat to national security. In that case, apparently it takes less than 24 hours for Lohier to completely abandon the rule of law entirely.
The next step is for the Obama administration’s emergency petition to move on to a motions panel which will decide on September 28 if the stay is maintained or if the issue is litigated in the New York-based appeals court, according to Threat Level.
According to the Obama administration, Judge Forrest’s constitutional ruling “had gone beyond the new statute and jeopardized some of its existing authority to hold certain wartime prisoners under the 11-year-old Authorization for Use of Military Force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks,” according to The New York Times.
As the Times rightly points out, the ultimate point of conflict here is over the amazing ambiguity of the language in the legislation.
The NDAA sets out broad and incredibly vague guidelines for who exactly can be indefinitely detained without charge or trial by the United States.
The legislation states that anyone who is allegedly a member of al Qaeda or the Taliban or any associated force (whatever that may be) can be indefinitely detained.
It also states that substantial supporters of those groups can be indefinitely detained, without ever specifying all of the associated forces or what conduct would suddenly turn someone into a supporter of al Qaeda, the Taliban or an associated force.
The plaintiffs, which include journalist Christ Hedges among others, argued that the NDAA created a fear of being placed in military detention simply for doing their job, thus creating a chilling effect and limiting their free speech.
“The government has argued that they do not have standing because they will not be detained under the law, although it initially refused to make that assurance,” points out The New York Times.
Indeed, one of the most disturbing aspects of the case was the fact that the Obama administration’s lawyers would never come out and say that they wouldn’t detain journalists like Hedges.
The Obama administration’s lawyers simply refused to outright state that journalists couldn’t be detained under the NDAA and how anyone could take that to mean that journalists would never be detained is completely beyond comprehension.
Hopefully the actions of the Obama White House in response to Judge Forrest’s decision will make it clear that they have always intended to detain American citizens without charge or trial and any claim otherwise is wholly without merit.
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