The NDAA and Marijuana PoliticsSubmitted by legalizeliberty on Tue, 08/21/2012 - 14:56
I want to talk about two things.
First, last week, oral arguments were heard in New York in the case of Chris Hedges vs. Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and others challenging the constitutionality of the National Defense Authorization Act (the NDAA). Specifically, they were challenging section 1021 that allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the U.S. military without charges who are suspected of providing “support” (an undefined term in the provision) to terrorists and “other associated parties” (another undefined term).
Lead plaintiff Chris Hedges is an author, former New York Times war correspondent, and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist. He and six other plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and journalists and activists who had been involved with Occupy movements, interviewed members of al-Qaeda, or disseminated information from WikiLeaks brought the question to the Court: Are their activities protected under the rights to speech and assembly, or are their activities cause for the Government to suspect that they are engaged in terrorist activities, and thus they can be “detained” (imprisoned) by the Government? Indefinitely. No charges. No lawyers.
When Obama signed the NDAA on New Year’s Eve, 2011, he also issued a “signing statement” which said, “my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens.” The Government used this policy statement as an argument against the plaintiffs’ case, claiming the signing statement rendered their case moot. But when the Court asked the Government point blank, given what these people have said they have done in the course of their work, could they be detained under section 1021, the Government refused to answer.