Seriously, whenever the administration gets in front of a judge and argues for unlimited executive power. they sound like they are acting out one of Dick Cheney’s fascist wet dreams:
The Obama administration warned Monday that a judge’s ruling last week blocking a statute authorizing the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects has jeopardized its ability to continue detaining certain prisoners captured during the war in Afghanistan.
In an emergency appeal of the ruling, the government asserted that United States District Court Judge Katherine B. Forrest went beyond enjoining the statute — enacted last year as part of the National Defense Authorization Act — and potentially curtailed detention powers it has been exercising for years under its interpretation of the authorization to use military force against the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Judge Forrest’s order “threatens irreparable harm to national security and the public interest by injecting added burdens and dangerous confusion into the conduct of military operations abroad during an active armed conflict,” the government wrote in a 38-page filing with the federal appeals court in New York.
The motion focused on language used by Judge Forrest that rejected interpreting the original use-of-force authorization as including the ability to detain “substantial supporters” of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as opposed to people who are actually part of those groups. The judge also called into question the idea that the United States could detain members or supporters of “associated forces” that had no involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.
Thankfully, the judge was having none of this:
“If, following issuance of this permanent injunctive relief, the government detains individuals under theories of ‘substantially or directly supporting’ associated forces, as set forth in” the National Defense Authorization Act, “and a contempt action is brought before this court, the government will bear a heavy burden indeed,” she wrote.
The interesting thing here is that there are at least two alternatives that come to mind:
- They could use the ordinary criminal justice system.
- They could declare them prisoners of war.
- In fact, if they don’t charge them, we are bound by treaty to declare them POWS and accord them all rights inherent in that status.
The thesis advanced by the Obama DoJ is that any inconvenience trumps the Constitution or treaty obligations.
This is why I call Barack Obama the worst constitutional law professor ever.