Thursday, February 26, 2009
Several news outlets reported this afternoon that Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri was indicted today by a federal grand jury in Peoria, Illinois. The ACLU, which represents al-Marri, issued a press release anticipating the indictment.
Al-Marri is the lawful U.S. resident who was held in indefinite military detention in the U.S. as an enemy combatant. The Fourth Circuit upheld his detention, and he appealed to the Supreme Court. The Obama administration was faced with the choice: Argue the Bush administration position at the Supreme Court, or charge al-Marri in a regular Article III court, or both. It apparently elected to charge al-Marri in a regular Article III court.
Now the question is what the administration will do at the Supreme Court. Whatever position the administration takes, one obvious and likely possibility is that the Court will rule the case moot. The ACLU encourages it not to do this. It argues that the issues are critical, and a high court ruling will prevent this from happening again.
The Justice Department's brief is due March 23; oral argument is set for April 27. We should know before either date whether the administration will press the case at the Supreme Court, or press to drop it. I'll keep my ears open.
I most recently posted on the case here.