ACLU Urges Supreme Court To Deny Motion To Dismiss Al-Marri's Indefinite Detention Case

March 3, 2009 12:00 am

Media Contact
125 Broad Street
18th Floor
New York, NY 10004
United States

CONTACT: (212) 549-2666;

WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union filed a brief with the Supreme Court today opposing the government’s move to dismiss the case against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri as moot. The Supreme Court agreed to hear al-Marri’s case in December, and oral arguments are currently scheduled for April 27.

After almost six years in military detention, al-Marri was indicted last week in federal court and charged with two counts of material support for terrorism. As the ACLU points out in its brief, however, the government has not renounced the authority to detain U.S. residents and citizens in military custody as “enemy combatants,” nor has it ruled out the prospect that al-Marri himself may be placed back in military detention. For these reasons, the ACLU argues in its brief that the Supreme Court can and should resolve the legal question of the president’s authority to indefinitely detain U.S. residents and citizens in military custody without charge or trial. At a minimum, the Supreme Court should vacate the lower court ruling upholding the government’s extraordinary assertion of executive detention power.

The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU and lead counsel in al-Marri’s case:

“Although Mr. al-Marri’s indictment represents an important step towards restoring the rule of law, his case before the Supreme Court is not moot. The government has still not renounced the legal authority that led to Mr. al-Marri’s detention in military custody for more than six years without charge or trial. The Court should make clear that there is no legal authority for the president to deprive individuals living in the United States of their most basic constitutional rights by declaring them ‘enemy combatants.'”

A copy of the ACLU’s brief and additional information on al-Marri’s case is available at:

By completing this form, I agree to receive occasional emails per the terms of the ACLU’s privacy policy.

The Latest in National Security

ACLU's Vision

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.

Learn More About National Security

National Security issue image

The ACLU’s National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights.