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Supreme Court Accepts Material Witness Case Against Ashcroft

The Supreme Court today announced it will review the case of former detainee and material witness Abdullah al-Kidd against former Attorney General John Ashcroft. Al-Kidd is a U.S.-born American citizen:

Al-Kidd, a one-time University of Idaho football star who converted to Islam, was arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003 as he was boarding a plane for Saudi Arabia, where he planned to study.

He was held for 15 nights as a material witness in a broader terrorism probe. But he claims that was simply a pretext for a larger plan approved by Ashcroft to sweep up Muslim men it could not prove had any ties to terrorism.

The 9th Circuit rejected personal immunity for Ashcroft. En Banc hearing was denied.

The Obama Administration is representing Ashcroft and asking the Supreme Court to overturn the decision. The ACLU says more than 70 people have similar complaints about their detention as material witnesses. More on the abuse of the material witness statute is here.

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  • Display: Sort:
    Hope and change, baby. (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by rhbrandon on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 02:21:13 PM EST
    Defending Ashcroft.
    Defending DADT.
    Defendng DOMA.
    Defending assassinating Americans without due process.
    Defending drone attacks on civilians.
    Defending mortgage fraud.
    Defending privatizing gains and socializing losses.

    This administration seems to be fired up for everyone but the American people.

    This comic strip sums the problem up nicely: http://newadventuresofqueenvictoria.com/index.php?stripdate=101017

    And cheerleaders wonder why some of us are not fired up for the team.

    Ashcroft better get his (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by KeysDan on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 03:33:31 PM EST
    own attorney.  Personal immunity rejected.

    did I read it wrong? (none / 0) (#4)
    by diogenes on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 08:41:36 PM EST
    I thought that the ninth circuit (for heaven's sake) ruled against Ashcroft and the supreme court is reviewing the ninth circuit's ruling.  Given the history of the ninth circuit's rulings and the the Supreme Court's rate of overturning them I wouldn't count your chickens before they are hatched.

    Parent
    NYT (none / 0) (#3)
    by wg on Mon Oct 18, 2010 at 07:43:41 PM EST
    (Liptak) also has an article on this with many more graphic and other  details. True as pointed out by him most European countries do not have 4th Amendment type of reservations and permit preventive detention of terrorism suspects, willy nilly basically.

    Still given that all them are signatories to "Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners" a UN convention (and we are not, thus for example the barbaric spectacle of citizens forced to appear shackled before judges))  it would be unthinkable to see anybody forced to "sit in a small cell for hours and hours and hours buck naked" and shackled hand and foot, in preventive, pretrial or any other imprisonment.  Simply unthinkable in Europe these days.

    While here it passes generally unnoticed, silently accepted and courts involve themselves with sanctimonious pious theoretical discussion whether he should be detained at all.

    How pharisaic, how offensive!

    Any person who had anything to do with shackling and stripping him in jail Abu Ghraib should have been prosecuted long time ago (first priority in this case) and put in prison for 20 years or more, but those people still are holding their positions in the FBI, in prisons, jails, etc.

    The methods would be (none / 0) (#7)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:38:39 PM EST
    unthinkable, but the usage of preventitive detention is if anything far more widespread- its paticularily grotesque in the UK where between said detention and the near ubiquitous video surveillance the countries just a hop skip and a jump from 1984.

    Parent
    gee, i thought the bush (none / 0) (#5)
    by cpinva on Tue Oct 19, 2010 at 01:12:03 AM EST
    administration was all about "personal accountability"? ha! just kidding!

    Is it possible to both think Ashcroft was wrong (none / 0) (#6)
    by Socraticsilence on Wed Oct 20, 2010 at 01:36:48 PM EST
    and think that immunity should apply- its like acts of war- I just think its pretty freaking easy to go back and say AGs have committed criminal actions when in fact they were making policy decisions- from here with Ashcroft all the way back to the massive civil rights violations under RFK, etc.