Robert Barnes
Washington Post
December 6, 2008

The Supreme Court said yesterday it will decide whether the president may order the indefinite detention of suspects living lawfully in the United States, one of the broadest claims of executive power the Bush administration has asserted in the nation’s anti-terrorism efforts.

The court said it will review the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a Qatari national studying in Illinois when he was seized in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and held in a Navy brig for more than five years without formal charges.

The case will present President-elect Barack Obama with an immediate decision on whether to endorse President Bush’s aggressive use of executive power or to strike a new path in how the country confronts those suspected of planning additional al-Qaeda attacks.

The Supreme Court has ruled against the Bush administration four times on cases that involve the assertion of executive power with limited judicial review. Most recently, the court ruled 5 to 4 that terrorism suspects held at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal court.

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