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?

  8. You don’t think the NDAA, the yearly defense budget bill, is a regular thing?

    How do you explain all the previous NDAA’s? Year after year?

    Why would Obama, so clever and evil, clarify the existing law in an NDAA clause, when anyone with a basic grasp of procedure could tell him that action would eventually strip that power from his office via the courts?

    I think you might be a partisan hack spewing bile, but  it is hard to tell because you wrote that in a big angry block full of emotion without structure.

  9. If you were actually liberal, or actually a Democrat, you might remember that the left spent the entirety of Bush’s term arguing that we shouldn’t be in Iraq (we now aren’t), that we should have been in Afghanistan all along (we now are), and that the correct way to deal with terrorism is through law enforcement in friendly countries and airstrikes in less friendly ones (as we’re now doing with drones.)  At least, you would remember that if you were paying attention during those years.

  10. the left spent the entirety of Bush’s term arguing …………..that we should have been in Afghanistan all along (we now are)


  11. I’m actually a liberal and it’s a historical fact that when the Democrats controlled Congress, they gave Bush everything he needed to invade Iraq.  And they supported the war afterwards.

    There were Democrats like Russ Feingold arguing that we shouldn’t be there, but most Democrats supported the war.


    Be careful when you claim people weren’t paying attention that you aren’t making stuff up.

    Also, we’re out of Iraq despite the efforts of Obama to keep troops there and because of agreements made during the Bush administration.

    Finally, we are friendly with Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen, but we’re killing lots of civilians in those countries with drones.

  12. I saw that too, I’d guess it refers to how Iraq had an extreme detrimental effect on the Afghanistan deployment, which many rank and file complained about at the time. I can’t remember what generals said about it. 

    Friend of mine served in Afghanistan, but refused to go to Iraq, and became an ex-pat war-resister fugitive as a result.

    Combat vet that stood up to the US Gov. Guy got balls like Imelda got shoes.

  13.  the left spent the entirety of Bush’s term arguing that we shouldn’t be in Iraq (we now aren’t)

    Uh… Wait again…

  14. Don’t be talking about historical facts when you’re getting them so completely wrong.  Here’s a story from 2008, the Alternet archives

    Maliki Endorses Obama’s Iraq Timeline in Huge Blow for McCain, Bush

    In a stunning diplomatic breakthrough for Barack Obama, Iraq’s prime minister yesterday endorsed the Democratic candidate’s 16-month timeline for withdrawing combat troops from Iraq.

    The agreement to pull us out of Iraq that was made during the Bush administration was proposed by Obama, over Bush and McCain’s objection.  Do you need that again?  Obama, as a candidate, set forth a plan to pull us out.  Bush and McCain opposed it, but Maliki in Iraq said he wanted Obama’s plan, not then president Bush’s “someday we’ll get around to pulling out, but no set dates plan.”

    Moreover, Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start, right alongside Feingold. Including voting in the senate for Feingold’s amendment to pull our toops out.  It was one of the only things separating him from Clinton.

  15. Note to the Left and the Right –

    Stating your partisanship is a fine way to reduce your credibility regardless of whatever else you say.

  16. Gideon, lots of things were said in 2008.  Many of them didn’t indicate what was to come.  When making the withdrawal announcement, Obama’s White House said, “This deal was cut by the Bush administration, the agreement was always that at end of the year we would leave…”


    The Obama administration — as it’s telling you itself — was willing to keep troops in Iraq after the 2011 deadline (indeed, they weren’t just willing, but eager). The only reason they aren’t  is because the Iraqi Government refused to agree that U.S. soldiers would be immunized if they commit serious crimes, such as gunning down Iraqis without cause.

    And I wasn’t talking about Obama, I was responding to your claim that “If you were actually liberal, or actually a Democrat, you might remember that the left spent the entirety of Bush’s term arguing that we shouldn’t be in Iraq…”

    And so I simply pointed out that, in fact, most Democrats, including leading figures, gave Bush everything he wanted for Iraq.

  17. So, if you say, “If you’re a liberal or actually a Democrat, you might remember…”

    And I start my response by pointing out that I am a liberal, then, somehow, I’ve lost credibility? 

    I don’t get it.

  18. It might maybe have something to do with the fact that that phrase is used almost exclusively by right-wing astroturfers, who also BTW, unanimously voted for Obama.

    I had no idea.  Seriously, the only reason I mentioned it was Gideon’s suggestion that a liberal  would remember history the way he does.  So, I just wanted to point out that this liberal does not.  

    Lots of liberals would be similarly confused at the suggestion that the Democrats fought Bush’s War on Terror policies while they had control of Congress.

  19. And I start my response by pointing out that I am a liberal, then, somehow, I’ve lost credibility?

    It might maybe have something to do with the fact that that phrase is used almost exclusively by right-wing astroturfers, who also BTW, unanimously voted for Obama.

Comments are closed.