Judge Stays Ban on U.S. Indefinite Detention
MANHATTAN (CN) - A military-detention law signed on New Year's Eve and later blocked for trampling the First Amendment came back into effect, this time on Jewish New Year.
The lead attorney fighting the law, Bruce Afran, wrote that it was no accident that the government lawyers pushed for a quick ruling on Rosh Hashanah, "when they know plaintiffs' counsel will be observing the religious holiday and unable to respond properly."
"This is identical to the administration's original tactic of signing the NDAA on New Year's Eve when most of the media and the nation were not paying attention," Afran said in a statement.
The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act contains a paragraph, Section 1021(b)(2), letting the military hold anybody it accuses of "substantially supporting" terrorists or their "associated forces" without judicial review until the "end of hostilities."
The bill passed the Senate on Dec. 15, 2011, the 220th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights.
President Barack Obama signed it on New Year's Eve.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges sued to overturn it weeks later, stating that his reporting on 17 U.S.-designated terrorist groups put him at risk of being jailed for life.
Several writers and activists, calling themselves the Freedom Seven, joined in, testifying that the NDAA made them censor themselves and change how they associated for fear of indefinite detention.
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest, an Obama appointee, called the law "constitutionally infirm" and banned its enforcement on free speech and due process grounds.
She issued a preliminary injunction in May and made it permanent last week.
But another Obama appointee, 2nd Circuit Judge Raymond Lohier, stayed her ruling on Monday night, as the nation marked Constitution Day and religious Jews celebrated the Rosh Hashanah holiday. Hours earlier, Afghanistan's judiciary ruled against indefinite detention, the Associated Press reported.
The 2nd Circuit will convene a panel on Sept. 28 to determine the fate of the law.