Judge Strikes Down NDAA, Rules Obama Must Obey Constitution
In a considerable setback for a president eager to ravage the due process rights of the American people, Federal Judge Kathleen Forrest granted a preliminary injunction on Wednesday, striking down those sections of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012 which sought to provide Barack Obama the power to indefinitely detain citizens without benefit of their 5th Amendment rights.
Signed very quietly into law on New Year’s Eve, the controversial Act has been roundly criticized as unconstitutional by groups on both the political left and right. Of greatest concern was Section 1021, which grants the United States military authority to exercise police powers on American soil. Upon order of the president and at his sole discretion, agents of the military are empowered to detain “until the end of hostilities” anyone the president believes to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda, the Taliban, or “associated forces.”
Judge Forrest concluded that the Section “…failed to ‘pass Constitutional muster’ because its broad language could be used to quash political dissent.” In a statement clearly directed to lawmakers, she added, ”Section 1021 tries to do too much with too little – it lacks the minimal requirements of definition and scienter that could easily have been added, or could be added, to allow it to pass constitutional muster.” That is, Congress failed—perhaps deliberately– to define “substantial support” of terrorist groups or describe those activities which might be construed as crossing the legal line. And no law may be enforced if those to whom it applies are unable to clearly understand what a violation of that law entails.
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