President Barack Obama must surely rue the day he appointed Katherine Forrest (photo) to the federal bench. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Forrest issued a preliminary injunction against Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the section that gives the President “the absolute power to arrest and detain citizens of the United States [and of other countries] without their being informed of any criminal charges, without a trial on the merits of those charges, and without a scintilla of the due process safeguards protected by the Constitution of the United States,” in the words of The New American’s Joe Wolverton, II. Wolverton should know: He was a member of the legal team representing the plaintiffs.
In what columnist Glenn Greenwald hailed as “an extraordinary and encouraging decision,” Forrest, appointed to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Obama just last year, accepted the arguments of the plaintiffs — various journalists and activists including former New York Times reporter Christopher Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg, and Noam Chomsky — and rejected those of the Obama administration, which was defending the law.
Of note is the fact that while four of the plaintiffs provided either oral or written testimony along with substantial supporting evidence, the government apparently felt no need to introduce any witnesses or evidence to bolster its contentions, relying instead on the old standby argument that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue because the law had not been, nor was it about to be, enforced on them. In addition, the administration claimed that the whole lawsuit was much ado about nothing because the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA merely reiterated those of the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which courts have upheld.
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