Sweeping Executive Power Claims Challenged In Al-Marri Case
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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court today agreed to review the Bush administration's claim that it can indefinitely imprison a legal resident of the United States without charge or trial. The case was filed on behalf of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, who has been detained in solitary confinement at a Navy brig in South Carolina since June 2003. Al-Marri asked the Court to reverse a federal appeals court decision that gave the president sweeping power to deprive individuals in the United States of their most basic constitutional rights by designating them as "enemy combatants."
The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and counsel for al-Marri:
"We are pleased that the Supreme Court has accepted Mr. al-Marri's case for review. The president has deviated from the principles on which the United States and its Constitution were founded: that individuals cannot be imprisoned for suspected wrongdoing without being charged with a crime and tried before a jury. We are confident that upon review, the Court will strike down this radical – and unnecessary – departure from our nation's most basic values."
The following can be attributed to Steven R. Shapiro, Legal Director of the ACLU:
"We are hopeful that the Court will reverse the appeals court decision and ensure that people in this country cannot be seized from their homes and imprisoned indefinitely simply because the president says so. This sweeping claim of executive authority violates America's best traditions and defies fundamental principles of due process that have governed the nation since its founding."
The ACLU's petition for Supreme Court review is available online at: www.aclu.org/safefree/detention/36861lgl20080919.html
Attorneys on the case are Hafetz, Shapiro and Jameel Jaffer of the ACLU; Aziz Huq and Emily Berman of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law; Andrew J. Savage, III of the law firm Savage & Savage, P.A.; John J. Gibbons and Lawrence S. Lustberg of the law firm Gibbons, P.C.; and Sidney S. Rosdeitcher of the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP.