Judge Rules NDAA Unconstitutional

Well, at least a part of it. From the Associated Press (via Newsday):

A judge on Wednesday struck down a portion of a law giving the government wide powers to regulate the detention, interrogation and prosecution of suspected terrorists, saying it left journalists, scholars and political activists facing the prospect of indefinite detention for exercising First Amendment rights.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan said in a written ruling that a single page of the law has a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights.” She cited testimony by journalists that they feared their association with certain individuals overseas could result in their arrest because a provision of the law subjects to indefinite detention anyone who “substantially” or “directly” provides “support” to forces such as al-Qaida or the Taliban. She said the wording was too vague and encouraged Congress to change it.

“An individual could run the risk of substantially supporting or directly supporting an associated force without even being aware that he or she was doing so,” the judge said.

She said the law also gave the government authority to move against individuals who engage in political speech with views that “may be extreme and unpopular as measured against views of an average individual.

“That, however, is precisely what the First Amendment protects,” Forrest wrote.

In the words of our forefathers, Hallelujah.

We here at United Liberty have posted a lot on the subject of the National Defense Authorization Act, and how it is basically unconstitutional, un-American, unjust, and downright immoral. The detention provisions in the NDAA make a mockery of the entire American experiment and have no place in our country.

Now, finally, it appears that the judiciary is doing its job and is fighting back to protect our freedoms. However, there are some cavaets.

Namely, it appears that Judge Forrest is approaching this only on First Amendment grounds. While that is certainly correct, I fear that such a narrow approach is inadequate. The NDAA is wrong not just because it impedes our right to free speech, but also because it violates the Fourth Amendment, the right to be secure in our persons, and the Sixth Amendment, the right to a fair trial. It complete disregards the principle of due process, which is one of the fundamental underpinnings of American law.

A stronger argument against the NDAA would highlight all of these different angles. However, it is still a great first step, and one I commend (particularly since I brought it up before myself.) May the NDAA be forever declared unconstitutional and its provisions sent to the ashbin of history, where they shall be incinerated.

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