NDAA ruled unconstitutional; White House appeals

NDAA ruled unconstitutional; White House appeals Published on Sep 13, 2012 by RTAmerica

On Wednesday, a Federal judge made permanent an injunction barring the indefinite detention of Americans without charge under the National Defense Authorization Act. The group of plaintiffs in this case comprised of seven journalists claiming this piece of legislation jeopardizes their livelihood. Their argument was that under the NDAA they could be detained indefinitely for just reporting on the violence in the Middle-East and interacting with terrorists. Kevin Gosztola, a blogger with FireDogLake.com, joins us with more.

Published on Thursday, September 13, 2012 by Common Dreams
Civil Liberties Victory: Judge Halts Indefinite Detention Law
Judge: "First Amendment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be legislated away"
- Common Dreams staff

A federal judge struck down a law that allows indefinite detention as a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) on Wednesday.

(photo: Lauriel-Arwen via Flickr) As Democracy Now! summarizes the ruling,

Judge Katherine Forrest issued a preliminary injunction against the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA, earlier this year. On Wednesday, Judge Forrest made her ruling permanent, declaring that the NDAA cannot be used to hold people in indefinite military detention on suspicion of having "substantially supported" al-Qaeda or its allies. The decision marked a major victory for the group of journalists, scholars and political activists who had brought the case, arguing the provision was so broad it could easily infringe on freedom of speech.

"First Amendment rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and cannot be legislated away," Forrest wrote in the ruling. "This Court rejects the Government's suggestion that American citizens can be placed in military detention indefinitely, for acts they could not predict might subject them to detention."

"In short, the Court can find no authority in domestic law or the law of war, nor can the government point to any, to justify the concept of 'support' as a valid ground for detention," Forrest wrote.

Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, praised the ruling and stated that "Judge Forrest’s decision enjoining the NDAA’s detention provisions is a rare example of our system of checks & balances actually working. Other courts should heed this important example and, like Judge Forrest, do their jobs and closely scrutinize overreaching laws and executive abuses to defend constitutional rights."

The lawsuit had been brought by seven plaintiffs — Chris Hedges, Dan Ellsberg, Noam Chomsky, Birgitta Jonsdottir, Alexa O’Brien, Kai Wargall, and Jennifer Bolen — alleging that the NDAA violates ”both their free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment as well as due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Hedges spoke with The Village Voice about the new ruling and said he was "elated."

"I'm elated," he told the Voice. "This judge is amazing. She had the courage to do the right thing in an age when most judges write long opinions about why they can't do the right thing."

"If they appeal, we'll fight them, and we'll keep fighting them, and we'll fight them until we win," said Hedges.

Media ignores NDAA

Published on Sep 14, 2012 by RTAmerica

A federal judge has ruled that the Government can not enforce a provision that allows the military to detain those in support of terrorists or "associated forces." The latter words here are key - that's because the plaintiffs in this case against consist of reporters and activists that say they believe they can fall under this category by reporting in the Middle East. According to the group they can be indefinitely detained because their jobs sometimes require them to interact with terrorists. The judge granted a temporary injunction back in May which put a temporary block on that part of the law. Federal judge Katherine Forrest has now made the order permanent. Carl Mayer, an attorney with the Mayer Law Group and co-counsel to the plaintiff in this case, joins RT's Liz Wahl for the details.