Obama DOJ asks Supreme Court to OK summary extra-judicial detention

There’s no way to sugar-coat this one. The Obama administration is about to enshrine executive illegality as precedence in the Supreme Court. And not just any illegality — summary extra-judicial detention. Here’s the Wash Post’s description (my emphasis):

The Supreme Court agreed Monday to examine once again the Bush administration’s aggressive response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, saying it will consider whether former attorney general John D. Ashcroft can be sued by a U.S. citizen who claims he was illegally detained and treated as a terrorist.

Lower courts have said that Abdullah al-Kidd can press forward with his suit that attempts to hold Ashcroft personally liable for misusing federal laws to hold him without charging that he had broken any laws.

Al-Kidd, a onetime University of Idaho football star named Lavoni T. Kidd who converted to Islam in college, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003 as he was boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia, where he planned to study.

He was held for 15 nights in three states under the federal material-witness statute, which allows prosecutors to take custody of key witnesses to ensure that they testify at trial. But al-Kidd alleges that was simply a pretext for a larger plan approved by Ashcroft to sweep up Muslim men the government could not prove had any ties to terrorism.

Keith Olbermann reviews the case of Abdullah al-Kidd, and then interviews Jonathan Turley, who’s absolutely appalled.


This occurred under Bush II. Our problem is that the confirmation of Ashcroft’s illegal act will occur under Obama. Turley, from the clip:

This is what the Framers were talking about, arbitrary detention. … You’re left with this curious scene of Obama officials expressing concern over why liberals are so lethargic in this election, like it’s “something that we said.” Yeah! It is!

It’s not a disappointing act … it’s a disgusting act, to try to create this type of prescedent. And I promise you, this prescedent will bear a horrible fruit. This will be repeated because of what President Obama and his administration are going to do before this court.

A very bad day at the office for Mr. Change You Can Count On. Because, you know, we really did want to count on that change. We really did believe you.

What You Can Do. If you think the White House needs to hear this, write or call (or both). Here’s the White House web contact page. As always, be polite. If you believe as I do that actual letters carry more weight, the contact page says you can also call or write to the President here:

The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
Please include your e-mail address

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

I think this one matters. If it goes wrong in the Supreme Court (and it will if Obama asks them to rule), Turley is right. We’ll have enshrined exactly what the Founders created the Republic to prevent.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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