For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Matthew Allee
(202) 580-6922 or

Constitution Project Hails Supreme Court Order to Vacate Lower Court Enemy Combatant Ruling

WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the U.S. Court of Appeals for the
Fourth Circuit to vacate (i.e., "void") its ruling permitting the President to
indefinitely detain individuals living legally in the U.S. that the government
asserts are terrorists. In recent days, the Obama administration charged Ali
Saleh Kahlah al-Marri with conspiracy and material support for terrorism and
indicated its plan to prosecute him in a civilian criminal court.


The Constitution Project, joined by the Cato Institute and
the Rutherford Institute, filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court on the merits of
Mr. Marri's case in January, urging the Court to strike
down as unconstitutional the indefinite military detention without trial of a legal
resident. In addition, the Constitution Project, joined by the
Rutherford Institute, previously had urged the High Court to accept Mr. Marri's case for review.


The following statement can be attributed to Sharon Bradford
Franklin, Senior Counsel at the Constitution Project:


are pleased with today's Supreme Court order vacating the Fourth Circuit's
decision that had wrongly granted the President the power to indefinitely
detain individuals without charge whom the government asserts are terrorists.
We had hoped that the Supreme Court would have taken this opportunity to
resoundingly reject the executive branch's overbroad claims of detention power.
However, we are relieved that neither this administration nor any future one
will be able to rely upon as precedent the Fourth Circuit's unfortunate
decision that recognized an overbroad presidential detention power. We are
pleased that Mr. Marri will finally get his day in court."


Mr. Marri, a legal U.S.
resident who was arrested at his home in Peoria,
Illinois, had challenged the then-Bush
administration's claim that it had the power to hold him indefinitely in
military detention without trial. The U.S. Supreme Court had scheduled argument
in Mr. Marri's lawsuit against the government for April 27, in which he alleged
that neither federal law nor the Constitution authorize his imprisonment. Mr.
Marri will now be transferred out of the military brig, and will have the
opportunity to defend himself in court and to invoke the criminal justice
protections the Constitution provides.


Please contact Daniel Schuman,
Director of Communications and Counsel, if you would like to speak with an
expert or obtain additional information, at 202-580-6922 or


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The Constitution Project is a politically independent think tank established in 1997 to promote and defend constitutional safeguards. More information about the Constitution Project is available at

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