Friday, March 6, 2009

Indefinite Detention Case Dismissed

Ah, change:

The Supreme Court on Friday wiped out a lower court ruling that gave the President the authority to detain indefinitely as terrorism suspects individuals living legally in the United States. The order also approved transfer of Ali Saleh Kahlah Al-Marri from military custody to civilian custody for a trial on criminal charges in a regular federal court, presumably in Illinois. The order is available here.

The Court’s action ended the Qatari national’s appeal in Al-Marri v. Spagone (08-368) that the Court had agreed to hear. Thus, the hearing set for April 27 will not be held.

I mean, it's great that the guy will finally get his day in court, but the presidential authority to detain a man indefinitely is now unchallenged in SCOTUS--as the case has been rendered moot by the new administration's actions. On its face, it looks like a win for justice. But, essentially, it's a maneuver to skirt the issue, thus saving face for the Bush administration and refusing to challenge a purported power of the executive.

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