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Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

High Court Rejects Military Detention Case

WASHINGTON (CN) - A man whom the United States detained as either a member of al-Qaida or the Taliban failed to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday to review his challenge against the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Passed in September 2001, the AUMF empowers the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, author­ized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that oc­curred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organiza­tions or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by suchnations, organizations or persons."

A federal judge in Washington rejected Abdul Al Qader Ahmed Hussain's challenge based on the finding that he could be detained under the AUMF because he was "part of al-Qaeda or the Taliban at the time of his apprehension."

The D.C. Circuit affirmed and the U.S. Supreme Court declined Monday to give Hussain a writ of certiorari.

Justice Stephen Breyer explained in a concurring opinion that "irrespec­tive of whether Hussain was part of al Qaeda or the Tali­ban - it is possible that Hussain was not an 'individual who . . . was part of or supporting forces hostile to theUnited States or coalition partners in Afghanistan and who engaged in an armed conflict against the United States there.'" (Emphasis in original.)

"The court has not directly addressed whether the AUMF authorizes, and the Constitution permits, deten­tion on the basis that an individual was part of al Qaeda, or part of the Taliban, but was not 'engaged in an armed conflict against the United States' in Afghanistan prior to his capture," Breyer added. "Nor have we considered whether, assuming detention on these bases is permissible, either the AUMF or the Constitution limits the duration of detention.

"The circumstances of Hussain's detention may involvethese unanswered questions, but his petition does not ask us to answer them. Therefore, I agree with the court's decision to deny certiorari."

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