March 16, 2009 4:16PM

Monday Podcast: ‘Challenging Domestic Military Detentions’


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.