May 16, 2012
A federal judge Wednesday issued an injunction against a National Defense Authorization Act provision that grants the military the right to detain anyone it suspects of involvement in terrorism. U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of a group of plaintiffs, including Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges, who filed a lawsuit against the legislation within weeks of President Obama signing it.
Hedges was joined in the suit by linguist, author and dissident Noam Chomsky, Pentagon whistle-blower Daniel Ellsberg and other high-profile activists, scholars and politicians.
Military Detention Law Blocked by New York Judge
Bob Van Voris and Patricia Hurtado
May 16, 2012
A federal judge temporarily blocked enforcement of a part of the National Defense Authorization Act that opponents claim could subject them to indefinite military detention for activities including news reporting and political activism.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan today ruled in favor of a group of writers and activists who sued President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the Defense Department, claiming a provision of the act, signed into law Dec. 31, puts them in fear that they could be arrested and held by U.S. armed forces.
The complaint was filed Jan. 13 by a group including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges. The plaintiffs contend a section of the law allows for detention of citizens and permanent residents taken into custody in the U.S. on “suspicion of providing substantial support” to people engaged in hostilities against the U.S., such as al-Qaeda.
“The statute at issue places the public at undue risk of having their speech chilled for the purported protection from al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ‘associated forces’ – i.e., ‘foreign terrorist organizations,’” Forrest said in an opinion today. “The vagueness of Section 1021 does not allow the average citizen, or even the government itself, to understand with the type of definiteness to which our citizens are entitled, or what conduct comes within its scope.”
Federal court enjoins NDAA
An Obama-appointed judge rules its indefinite detention provisions likely violate the 1st and 5th Amendments
May 16, 2012
A federal district judge today, the newly-appointed Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York, issued an amazing ruling: one which preliminarily enjoins enforcement of the highly controversial indefinite provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act, enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Obama last December. This afternoon’s ruling came as part of a lawsuit brought by seven dissident plaintiffs — including Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, and Brigitta Jonsdottir — alleging that the NDAA violates ”both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”
The ruling was a sweeping victory for the plaintiffs, as it rejected each of the Obama DOJ’s three arguments: (1) because none of the plaintiffs has yet been indefinitely detained, they lack “standing” to challenge the statute; (2) even if they have standing, the lack of imminent enforcement against them renders injunctive relief unnecessary; and (3) the NDAA creates no new detention powers beyond what the 2001 AUMF already provides.