On May 16 U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest upheld her decision to block the controversial indefinite detention provisions in the National defence Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012, and the Obama Administration made a request for a more detailed explanation.The defendants — Barack Obama, Leon Panetta, John McCain, John Boehner, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell and Eric Cantor — argued that the order only stopped the government from indefinitely detaining the journalists and activists who brought the lawsuit.
But Judge Forrest has now clarified the injunction in a 8-page memorandum released Wednesday so as to “leave no doubt” that U.S. citizens cannot be indefinitely detained without due process.
(She did allow the section of the NDAA that authorizes the government to indefinitely detain “those who planned, authorised, committed, or aided in the actual 9/11 attacks.”)
The plaintiffs argued that the law was overly vague and that it violated the First (i.e. free speech/press) and Fifth (i.e. due process) Amendments.
Forrest agreed, and also explained to the government that “court decisions … enjoining enforcement of overly broad or vague statutes may apply generally … [and] may not be limited to the parties to the action.”
She states that the cases the government cites to support its interpretation of the order are “inapposite” (i.e. not relevant), whereas the plaintiffs successfully argued that section 1021 (b)(2) “may imperil expressive activities generally and the due process rights of anyone engaged in similar conduct.”
Forrest restated the fact that there is a “strong public interest in ensuring that due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment are protected by ensuring that ordinary citizens are able to understand the scope of conduct that could subject them to indefinite military detention.”