Judge Stays Injunction Against Indefinite Detention Law

Last night, Judge Raymond Lohier of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a temporary stay blocking a lower court’s injunction against a law authorizing the indefinite detention of terrorist suspects, pending appellate review later this month. Last week, a federal district court judge had issued a permanent injunction against the law. As Charlie Savage reported in the NYT:

In the detention case, Judge Katherine B. Forrest of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a permanent injunction barring the government from relying on the defense authorization law to hold people in indefinite military detention on suspicion that they “substantially supported” Al Qaeda or its allies — at least if they had no connection to the Sept. 11 attacks. . . .

The new statute went beyond covering the perpetrators of the Sept. 11 attacks to also cover people who were part of or substantially supported Al Qaeda, the Taliban or associated forces engaged in hostilities against the United States or its allies. Its enactment was controversial in part because lawmakers did not specify what conduct could lead to someone’s being detained, and because it was silent about whether the statute extended to American citizens and others arrested on United States soil. . . .

The Obama administration fought the move, saying . . . the statute created no new detention authority that did not already exist in the original authorization to use military force. While Judge Forrest said she thought that it did expand detention authority, the fact that the government took the narrower view was “decisive” because it meant that “enjoining the statute will therefore not endanger the public.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit is scheduled to hear the appeal on September 28.