Al-Marri Ruling

Yesterday, a federal appellate court finally issued its ruling in the Al-Marri case. This ruling highlights the most important constitutional issues that have arisen since 9-11, namely, the power of the executive vis-a-vis Americans here at home. True, Al-Marri is a citizen of Qatar, but Bush’s lawyers have been clear that what they’ve done to Al-Marri (incommunicado imprisonment in a military brig) can be done to any American suspected of terrorism. As a practical matter, it means Americans can be arrested without warrants and jailed without trials. The Padilla case was never really resolved by the courts, the momentous legal issues involved were left hanging out there once he was transferred into a civilian court to face criminal charges. To clear up the uncertainty, let’s hope the Supreme Court will hear this matter next term.

I’m still studying the 200+ pages in the ruling, but that’s my quick take. For additional info, go here and here (pdf).