Contact: Susan Lehman: 212–998–6318
D.C. – The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU asked the Supreme Court to review and reverse a court of appeals judgment that gave the president sweeping power to seize and detain people within the United States without criminal trial.
In July 2008, the en banc Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in al-Marri v. Pucciarelli that the President had the power to seize and detain militarily anyone in the United States based on allegations of terrorism-related conduct. It reached this extraordinary holding based on a statute that says nothing about detention, and without any equal historical precedent.
Today, in a petition for certiorari review filed in the Supreme Court, the Center calls on the High Court to review and reverse this deeply troubling lower court decision.
It warns that leaving the decision standing could “displace the constitutional protections of the criminal justice system, including the right to speedy presentment, confrontation, and trial by jury,” based on a mere allegation of a connection to possible terrorist activity.
“Unless the Supreme Court steps in, the Fourth Circuit’s ruling is going to cast a long shadow on civil liberties in the United States for years to come,” said.
The Brennan Center has represented al-Marri for the past three years in proceedings in both the district court and the Court of Appeals. Mr. al-Marri is now represented by the Brennan Center and the ACLU.
# # #