Obama administration can still detain anybody indefinitely

Michael Kelley, Business Insider |

An appeals court has ruled the U.S. can enforce the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention clause while the court decides whether to kill or allow the provisions, Josh Gerstein of Politico reports.

A three-judge motions panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit concluded “the public interest weighs in favor of granting the government’s motion for a stay [i.e. suspension].”

Last month District Judge Katherine Forrest permanently blocked the NDAA, but the Obama administration has appealed her ruling.

Appeals Court Judges Denny Chin, Raymond Lohier, and Christopher Droney agreed with the government that the plaintiffs — journalists and activists — “are in no danger whatsoever of ever being captured and detained by the U.S. military” because the NDAA doesn’t “affect the existing rights of United States citizens or other individuals arrested in the United States.”

The plaintiffs had successfully argued to Judge Forrest that some provisions of the indefinite detention clause are so vague they would chill free speech and restrict the ability to associate with people the government doesn’t like.

The NDAA allows the government to indefinitely detain anyone who provides “substantial support” to the Taliban, al-Qaeda or “associated forces.”