Judge suspends US law that provided for indefinite detention without trial

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest has issued a preliminary injunction against the clause in the National Defense Authorization Act that gave the administration the power to arrest people and hold them indefinitely, without a trial, if they were believed to support terrorism. She dismissed the government's arguments in support of the clause (NDAA §1021), which were just a rephrasing of Obama's bullshit, georgebushian signing statement, which consisted of "Nothing to see here" and "I'm a good guy, don't worry about it."

"This court is acutely aware that preliminarily enjoining an act of Congress must be done with great caution," she wrote. "However, it is the responsibility of our judicial system to protect the public from acts of Congress which infringe upon constitutional rights. As set forth above, this court has found that plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits regarding their constitutional claim and it therefore has a responsibility to insure that the public's constitutional rights are protected."

In a phone conference, the plaintiffs' attorneys Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer hailed what they called a "complete victory." "America is more free today than it was yesterday due to the courageous and righteous and very sound ruling by Judge Forrest," Mayer said. "I think this is a hugely significant development... I think it's also a testament to the courage of the plaintiffs here."

One of those plaintiffs, O'Brien, was also jubilant in a separate interview.

"I am extremely happy right now, and what I'm most happy about it is that this ruling has given me trust," O'Brien said, "Trust is the foundation of just and stable governments, and this ruling gives me hope that we can restore trust in the foundations of government."

Judge Blocks Controversial NDAA (via Reddit)

(Image: NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act), a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from worldcantwait's photostream)


  1. Thank (Diety or appropriate replacement) .     Is an appeal the next step, with an eventual trip to the supreme court?

    Question 2 = Is Obama a political wizard, allowing the courts to can this lawrather than looking ‘weak’ to conservatives – knowing that the courts would eventually cancel the law?   

    Holy cow.   I can’t believe I am considering that question.    That’s pretty twisted.

      1. Yep, and helleman he is a sort of wizard, because the only way the GOP could have stopped this would mean temporarily having an unfunded military, something no GOP member of congress would want to be accused of being accomplice to. 

        It wasn’t that individual members couldn’t see what was going on, they could, it wasn’t for party stability, many seats are going to be GOP, but the individual occupying that seat would be easily replaced by a rival within the GOP if they had opposed the NDAA. So any GOP member that saw what was going on would have to go along, the only reason, their own, -personal-, job would be lost otherwise.

        They had to pass the NDAA, and they couldn’t refuse on the basis of a clause that merely (to the general public) clarified a Bush doctrine staple, not if it messed up the military as a result, that would be political disaster.

        1. Vetoed what? a bill signed by Bush in 2001 giving the office of the President the power in question?

          No, he could not. He was not President.

          Without the NDAA clarification, there was no way to remove that power from the office of the President without an act of Congress, a Congress that is extremely divided, one portion of which won’t vote against Bush-era laws, another portion that won’t vote for anything the Pres. wants, another that would be confused and think they were voting against the Pres. somehow, you get the picture.

          Case in point, today, yes today, a congressional vote to amend the current NDAA to do the thing you want -Failed-. 

          But it doesn’t matter, if this judgement stands, the president loses that power as being unconstitutional.

          1. Obama cannot “veto” existing law. 

            The NDAA -did not- provide the office of the President with these powers of detention. The NDAA amended that law, thereby making it vulnerable to being nixed by the courts.

            The law in question was signed into force by GW Bush in 2001. 

            If Obama had vetoed the NDAA in question, congress would have passed it anyway, but if not, the military would be unfunded the upcoming year and the President’s power of detention would be intact.

            READ the NDAA/christ, then read the law it amended in the clause in question. The VERY FAMOUS LAW btw, called the AUMF of 2001, which the NDAA in question did amend, which allows it to be struck down by this judge, whose decision will very likely stand up to a not very vigorous appeal..

        2. He could have veto’d what?  The NDAA, which funds the entire US military?  That would have been bad… as well as totally ineffective, given that congress had more than enough votes to override any veto.

          1. gtrnky, if Obama didn’t amend the AUMF via the NDAA this judge could not strike down the President’s powers of detention.

            It’s not like student council, thank god, laws don’t just up and vanish or change overnight because a new President is elected. He can’t change the laws with a swipe of his pen.

          2.  In fact, Obama did threaten a veto until the detention provision was re-written to his liking. The detention provision  in the NDAA is what Obama wanted, and the White House helped write it. Fact.

  2. I predicted this at the outset of the NDAA controversy, (after explaining endlessly that the NDAA was a regular thing, and the part about detention/pres. powers was a clarification of existing law signed in 2001 by Bush) and told people this allowed the courts to strike it down in the near future. 

    But people always responded with “Obama is  tyrant-worse-Bush-devil! Eat yo young he will!” 

    So I stopped.

    -clarification, the reason this works and a direct approach wouldn’t is related to the original law’s structure/intentional obfuscation. Challenging was only possible on a case-by-case basis, thereby while you could successfully petition a court for relief, your success would have no effect on the law/power that allowed the certificate to begin with.

  3. Judge suspends US law that provided for indefinite detention without trial

    C-C-C-Combo Breaker!

    (It’s about damn time…)

  4. Is it known who specifically put the infinite detention part into the NDAA?
    I wouldn’t mind them getting exposed to a little sunlight.

    1. It is not in the NDAA. 

      There is a clause in the NDAA modifying the AUMF of 2001, which Authorized the Use of Military Force, including infinite detention of any person without due process at the President’s discretion. Any person. It was used against “enemy combatants and US citizens, thereby destroying their constitutional protections at the will of the President. 

      The NDAA specifically clarified that it included US citizens, which, even though it was used on US citizens, was not clear in the AUMF.

      Before the NDAA amending clause, the President could detain anyone, for any reason, for any length of time. If challenged successfully, the subject of detention could be exonerated and freed, but the law that screwed them over would remain intact.

      After the NDAA, the AUMF clarification specifically removed any doubt as to whether or not it applied to US citizens, thereby making it possible for a US court to find that portion of the AUMF unconstitutional, striking the power down entirely. 

      Obama is who demanded the NDAA include the clause re: the powers of detention of the President. Thereby opening the door to eliminating that provision of the AUMF.

      What I don’t get is why people don’t google the NDAA in question, read the 5-6 lines clarifying the AUMF, then google the AUMF and read the provisions regarding detention by the Pres.

  5. You guys need to be more understanding. Obama deserves our support for doing something politically expedient at the expense of our rights.

  6. The first thing we do, let’s congratulate all the lawyers. Bruce Afran and Carl Myer, your table is ready. 

  7. I don’t buy the version of events where Obama signed this bill because he’s a master political strategist utterly confident that the courts will kill it.  It doesn’t take Nina Totenberg to recognize that Supreme Court decisions hang on one or two votes.  It is NOT a sure thing that the courts will shut this down.

    Things I hoped Obama would protect us from:
    Warrantless Wiretapping
    Indefinite Detention
    Corporate influence in our regulatory agencies
    The healthcare/health insurance industry

    Things from the above list that he’s authorized, allowed, or promoted:

    Is it that I simply heard what I wanted to hear in 2008, or what?

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