Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, the exchange student from Qatar who was detained by the FBI with alleged ties to al-Qaeda, sat for years in a military brig in South Carolina as the only domestically detained enemy combatant.
The Bush Administration used al-Marri to test a legal theory aimed at keeping suspected terrorists in military prisons indefinitely.
President Obama has reversed that ruling, and has moved al-Marri into civilian courts. The Supreme Court is no longer hearing al-Marri’s appeal.
In Monday’s Cato Daily Podcast, Legal Policy Analyst David Rittgers says that there’s nothing that will stop future administrations from again reversing the policy.
This is creating this legal cul-de-sac where we can have military detention domestically…and the reason that they picked Al-Marri is, just as you would pick a sympathetic plaintiff to sue to overturn a law, if you want to keep a law…you would look for an unsympathetic defendant, and Al-Marri is as unsympathetic as you can get.
…He is the test case to keep this policy open.
The Cato Institute co-authored an amicus brief (PDF) at the Supreme Court supporting al-Marri’s challenge to the military detention.