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.