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Ear to the Ground

NDAA Update: Another Legal Victory

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Posted on Jun 8, 2012
"Democracy Now!"

Chris Hedges appeared on “Democracy Now!” after the May 16 NDAA ruling.

A federal judge on Wednesday said that her earlier ruling on the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act applied to everyone, not just the plaintiffs in the case. U.S. District Judge Katherine B. Forrest made the clarification in upholding a preliminary injunction that would block the military from indefinitely detaining American citizens it accused of supporting terrorists.

Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges is among the activists and journalists who brought the case, which was back in the court after the Obama administration asked Forrest to reconsider the May 16 decision.

Courthouse News Service:

“The May 16 order found Section 1021(b)(2) constitutionally infirm on two bases: the First Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment,” Forrest wrote. “As set forth below, the law has long provided that this type of finding has provided relief to both the parties pursuing the challenge, as well as third parties not before the Court. ... Put more bluntly, the May 16 order enjoined enforcement of Section 1021(b)(2) against anyone until further action by this, or a higher, court - or by Congress.”

Quoting the injunction, the judge added: “The May 16 order stated that there is a ‘strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.’” (Emphasis in original.)

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Hedges wrote in his column last month that the May 16 ruling was a victory for everyone, not just the plaintiffs. 

Chris Hedges:

The ruling was a huge victory for the protection of free speech. Judge Forrest struck down language in the law that she said gave the government the ability to incarcerate people based on what they said or wrote. Maybe the ruling won’t last. Maybe it will be overturned. But we and other Americans are freer today than we were a week ago.

....We have to stop asking what is reasonable or practical, what the Democratic Party or the government can do for us, what will work or not work. We must refuse now to make any concessions, large or small. We must remember that the lesser of two evils is still evil. We must no longer let illusions pacify us. Hell is truth seen too late. In large and small ways we are called to resist, resist, resist, as we race heedlessly into the abyss.

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom

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