March 20, 2010

Ashcroft liable for rights violation

The Courthouse New Network has an article on the most recent chapter in the trial of former Bush administration Attorney General, John Ashcroft, who was sued on 4A grounds by one of several individuals who were detained, without charge and without benefit of legal representation, under Ashcroft's extraordinary interpretations of the material witness statutes. The Ninth Circuit found the arguments of Ashcroft’s attorney unpersuasive and refused to rehear the case.

In the decision, Judge Milan A. Smith wrote, "The facts alleged in al-Kidd's complaint are chilling and serve as a cautionary tale to law-abiding citizens of the United States who fear the excesses of a powerful national government."

There was strong dissent by some other judges on the court, with Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain stating, "One shudders at the thought that this decision may deter the incumbent and future Attorney Generals from exercising the full range of their lawful authority to protect the security of the United States."

In response to O'scannlain's criticism, the majority offered the words of former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, in his famous dissent in Olmsted v. United States (1928):

"Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding."

Read the whole article HERE.



Old NFO said...

It will be interesting to see where this one ends up... Ashcroft did some stupid things, no question...