May 19, 2013
Judge Blocks Portion of NDAA
Posted on 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.
Hedges argued in his testimony that his work as a journalist would bring him into contact with terrorist organizations that would, given the scope of the law, qualify him for indefinite detention. The plaintiffs argued that the threat of detention alone would be an unconstitutional encroachment on their First Amendment rights to free expression and association, as well as a violation of the Fifth Amendment right to due process.
Government lawyers and Obama had previously said the provision merely reaffirmed an existing law recognizing the military’s right to perform certain routine duties. Forrest found language in the NDAA regarding the treatment of suspected terrorists to be vague, and that contrary to the government’s claims of redundancy it expanded military powers. —ARK
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