The US Supreme Court has been asked to step in and make sure the military cannot detain US citizens indefinitely without charge or trial as guaranteed in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the case of Hedges, et al. v. Obama filed an emergency motion with the Supreme Court on Wednesday asking the top justices in the United States to stop a White House-ordered stay that ensures US citizens can be locked up without due process [pdf].
Under a provision of the 2012 NDAA, the US government can indefinitely imprison any person suspected of terrorist activity without ever requiring them to be brought to trial. In September, US District Judge Katherine Forrest granted a permanent injunction against that part of the annual defense bill, Section 1021, essentially barring the White House from using the law. In response, US President Barack Obama asked the Second Circuit Court to intervene, and they did so by placing a stay on Judge Forrest’s injunction. On Wednesday, the plaintiffs urged the Supreme Court take action and eliminate the appellate decision.
“The effect of the Second Circuit stay is to place the plaintiffs in this action and many United States civilians and citizens in actual and imminent danger of losing their core First Amendment rights and fundamental Equal Protection liberties. The stay actually upends the status quo that has been in place for most of our nation’s history: that the military cannot detain civilians,” the plaintiffs argue.