CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"Broad Definitions of Terrorism Will Continue to be Struck Down"

This column, by contributing editor Gabor Rona at Jurist, begins as follows:

Last week, Judge Katherine Forrest decided that the US government's scheme for detaining terrorism suspects without charge or trial is unconstitutionally vague. Meanwhile, 238 members of the House of Representatives voted to confirm a power that could be used to arrest terrorism suspects on US soil, including US citizens, and hold them without charge or trial. So, who's right?

Let's first go back to 2004 when another federal jurist, Judge Joyce Hens Green, asked the government's lawyer a simple question: "If a little old lady in Switzerland gave money to a charity for an Afghan orphanage, and the money was passed to al Qaeda, could she be held as an enemy combatant?" The government declined to rule out the detention of innocent little old ladies as enemy combatants, and Green, not surprisingly, ruled against such a broad detention scheme.

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