Friday, February 27, 2009

Al-Marri Indicted

Reuters is reporting that a federal grand jury has indicted Al-Marri. The charges in the indictment are conspiracy and material support for terrorism.

This indictment takes Al-Marri out of military detention and places him in the civilian justice system. The big question now is: What will become of the Supreme Court appeal? With the removal to the civilian system a strong argument can be made that his case is now moot. The Court could also decide not to hear the appeal using the "hypothetical" argument it used in the Padilla case when.

Another question this raises is: What are Obama's intentions in indicting Al-Marri? By indicting Al-Marri the new administration could be seeking to avoid a groundbreaking ruling by the Court that could limit the adminstration's power in the future. I hope this is not the case, but it could be. The other intention could be just to get Al-Marri's case moving and stop engaging in a constitutionally questionable activity. As I said before, Al-Marri's attorney is urging the Court to hear the case so that a similar situation will not happen in the future. I think that the DoJ should also come out and urge the Court to hear the case as well so as to give the impression that they want to settle the constitutional question that Al-Marri raises. This would avoid the administration looking like it was trying to save itself from losing a potential detention tool.

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