by Bob Unruh
A decision from the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to “detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,” critics of the high court’s ruling said.
The high court by its own order this week refused to review an appellate-level decision that says the president and U.S. military can arrest and indefinitely detain individuals.
Officials with William J. Olson, P.C., a firm that filed an amicus brief asking the court to step in, noted that not a single justice dissented from the denial of certiorari.
“The court ducked, having no appetite to confront both political parties in order to protect the citizens from military detention,” the legal team told WND. “The government has won, creating a tragic moment for the people – and what will someday be viewed as an embarrassment for the court.”
WND reported earlier when the indefinite detention provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act were adopted, then later challenged in court.
The controversial provision authorizes the military, under presidential authority, to arrest, kidnap, detain without trial and hold indefinitely American citizens thought to “represent an enduring security threat to the United States.”
Journalist Chris Hedges was among the plaintiffs charging the law could be used to target journalists who report on terror-related issues.
A friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case stated: “The central question now before this court is whether the federal judiciary will stand idly by while Congress and the president establish the legal framework for the establishment of a police state and the subjugation of the American citizenry through the threat of indefinite military arrest and detention, without the right to counsel, the right to confront one’s accusers, or the right to trial.”
The 2014 NDAA was fast-tracked through the U.S. Senate, with no time for discussion or amendments, while most Americans were distracted by the scandal surrounding A&E’s troubles with “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson.
Eighty-five of 100 senators voted in favor of the new version of the NDAA, which had already been quietly passed by the House of Representatives.
Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, and others filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the Obama administration to challenge the legality of an earlier version of the NDAA.
It is Section 1021 of the 2012 NDAA, and its successors, that drew a lawsuit by Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, Noam Chomsky, Alex O’Brien, Kai Warg All, Brigitta Jonsottir and the group U.S. Day of Rage. Many of the plaintiffs are authors or reporters who stated that the threat of indefinite detention by the U.S. military already had altered their activities.
“It’s clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges said of the bill. “It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.”
Hedges is a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and was part of a team of reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism.
The friend-of-the-court brief warned the precedent “leaves American citizens vulnerable to arrest and detention, without the protection of the Bill of Rights, under either the plaintiff’s or the government’s theory of the case.
“The judiciary must not await subsequent litigation to resolve this issue, as the nature of military detention is that American citizens then would have no adequate legal remedy,” the brief explained.
“Once again, the U.S. Supreme Court has shown itself to be an advocate for the government, no matter how illegal its action, rather than a champion of the Constitution and, by extension, the American people,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute.
“No matter what the Obama administration may say to the contrary, actions speak louder than words, and history shows that the U.S. government is not averse to locking up its own citizens for its own purposes. What the NDAA does is open the door for the government to detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker.
“According to government guidelines for identifying domestic extremists – a word used interchangeably with terrorists, that technically applies to anyone exercising their First Amendment rights in order to criticize the government,” he said.
It’s not like rounding up innocent U.S. citizens and stuffing them into prison camps hasn’t already happened.
In 1944, the government rounded up thousands of Japanese Americans and locked them up, under the approval of the high court in its Korematsu v. United States decision.
The newest authorizes the president to use “all necessary and appropriate force” to jail those “suspected” of helping terrorists.
The Obama administration had claimed in court that the NDAA does not apply to American citizens, but Rutherford attorneys said the language of the law “is so unconstitutionally broad and vague as to open the door to arrest and indefinite detentions for speech and political activity that might be critical of the government.”
The law specifically allows for the arrests of those who “associate” or “substantially support” terror groups.
“These terms, however, are not defined in the statute, and the government itself is unable to say who exactly is subject to indefinite detention based upon these terms, leaving them open to wide ranging interpretations which threaten those engaging in legitimate First Amendment activities,” Rutherford officials reported.