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Supreme Court Vacates Lower Court Decision in Al-Marri Case

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March 6, 2009

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court vacated a lower court decision in the al-Marri case that gave the president the extraordinary power to seize and indefinitely detain U.S. citizens or residents without trial or charge.

You may recall that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, was indicted in federal court last week for material support for terrorism — after being held in military detention for almost six years without charge. And today, the Supreme Court vacated the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision that said the president had legal authority to imprison al-Marri (or any other lawful U.S. resident or citizen) without charge, and dismissed the case as moot..

In a press release we issued today, al-Marri’s attorney, Jonathan Hafetz, stated:

While we would have preferred a Supreme Court ruling that U.S. citizens and lawful residents detained in the U.S. cannot be held in military custody as ‘enemy combatants’ without charges or trial, the Supreme Court nonetheless took an important step today by vacating a lower court decision that had upheld the Bush administration’s authority to designate al-Marri as an ‘enemy combatant.’ Congress never granted the president that authority and the Constitution does not permit it. We trust that the Obama administration will not repeat the abuses of the Bush administration having now chosen to prosecute Mr. al-Marri in federal court rather than defend the Bush administration’s actions in this case.

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