In a nation where a number of laws passed since 9/11 have steadily undermined Constitutional protections, the 2012 NDAA has gone too far. Key provisions in this law contain language that is both over-broad and vague. We believe this vague language leaves many people, including journalists, war correspondents, out-spoken activists and serious critics of US government foreign policy in real danger of harm and a fundamental loss of constitutionally guaranteed rights. We sued – and a federal judge agreed with us!
The Lawsuit: Our challenge concerns Section 1021 of the NDAA. This provision includes undefined terms such as “associated forces” and “substantial support” – terms that government attorneys refused to clarify during our hearing on March 29, 2012. President Obama’s signing statement declaring that indefinite detention will not be applied to US citizens is essentially meaningless. The right of the US government to detain anyone, anywhere without charge until “the end of hostilities” is now codified into law.
This is a nonpartisan lawsuit. Defendants in this suit include President Obama, Leon Panetta and six members of Congress (see our filing here ). Plaintiffs include journalists, professors, whistle-blowers, a Parliamentarian and several rights activists, all of whom have reason to feel we are in imminent danger under the NDAA.
In May, Judge Katherine Forrest (an Obama-appointed judge) ruled that our plaintiffs do have standing, and that Section 1021 is facially unconstitutional. On its face, this provision denies First and Fifth Amendment rights. Judge Forrest granted a temporary restraining order against Section 1021. The government responded by requesting that Judge Forrest entirely reverse this incredibly strong ruling, trying to claim that again, we do not have standing, and that if we do have standing, the TRO applies to only our group of seven plaintiffs. Judge Forrest then issued a clarifying order, making it abundantly clear that the TRO applies to ALL citizens, thus ensuring you cannot be indefinitely detained without access to due process under this law. In September we had a stunning victory when Judge Forrest ruled in our favor for a permanent injunction, however the government appealed, AND they were granted a stay against the injunction pending appeal. The appeals process has begun and will be heard in late December, 2012. We fully expect the case to go to the Supreme Court, and we are going to need your help!
The Campaign: We are conducting a campaign in tandem with this lawsuit. This is because we face enormous challenges – including a compromised legal and judicial system, a mainstream media that is failing to report critical news, and a populace that needs to get its voice back and feel it has power to redress harm and grievances. We hope that by doing both we will help provide such a platform. Thanks to our campaign partners, we have sent over 60,000 emails to Congress, from you, in support of this case!
Please join us in stopping the NDAA. Stay tuned for multiple events and activities around this lawsuit, to be announced as they occur, and public petitions in support of our case. Check the news tab for our Q&A, Reddit.com “Ask Me Anything,” and interviews, with our attorneys and plaintiffs, plus updates on the appeal and more.