Sunday, September 16, 2012

US District Court Enjoins Law Authorizing Indefinite Detention

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York entered an order permanently enjoining the enforcement of section 1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizing indefinite military detention of persons who provide substantial support to Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and associated groups.  A group of journalists, writers and activitists brought suit challenging the constitutionality of the NDAA on First and Fifth Amendment grounds claiming that the NDAA chilled their free speech rights.  The District Court was troubled by the U.S. government's inability to define key terms in the statute to limit the scope of the NDAA to ensure that it did not unconstitutionally infringe on individual liberties.  Therefore, the Court enjoined enforcement of section 1021(b)(2) on the grounds that it is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague.  The District Court's opinion in Hedges v. Obama dated Sept. 12, 2012 may be found here.  On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an appeal of the Order.


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