Justice Department, In Extraordinary Legal Maneuvers, Fights Late Into The Night And Over The Weekend To Retain President's Power To Send U.S. Citizens To Military Prisons Without Right to Trial or Attorney.
Emergency Stay Motion to Be Filed Monday, September 17th By The Justice Department After Late Friday Night Filing.
NEW YORK, Sept. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Late at night on Friday, September 15, 2012 the United States Justice Department, filed a letter with the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals informing the court that at 9:00 AM Monday, September 17, 2012 they will file for an emergency immediate stay with the Second Circuit in the matter of Hedges v. Obama. (The Second Circuit is the last avenue of appeal before the Supreme Court.)
This extraordinary legal maneuver comes as the Justice department implied that the injunction issued by Federal District Judge Katherine Forrest on Wednesday, September 12, 2012 would impair the President's ability to conduct war.
"A Constitutional showdown between the President and the Judicial Branch of Government is now at hand. This may be the most significant Constitutional stand-off since the Pentagon Papers case," said Carl Mayer, co-lead counsel for plaintiffs Chris Hedges, Daniel Ellsberg and five others.
"The Administration of President Obama within the last 48 hours has decided to engage in an all-out campaign to block, intimidate and overturn an order of a federal judge," said Bruce Afran, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs. "As Judge Forrest noted in her opinion, nothing is more fundamental in American law than the possibility that journalists, activists and citizens could lose their liberty, potentially forever, and the Obama administration has now lined up squarely with the most conservative elements of the Republican Party to undermine American's civil liberties."
The fast-paced, high-stakes litigation began playing out Friday afternoon when the Obama Administration filed a brief asking Judge Forrest to stay her ruling of Wednesday. Judge Forrest indicated that she would decide the matter next Wednesday, September 19 after the Jewish New Year holidays.
The government responded that this was not fast enough and asked for an interim stay. This was denied by Judge Forrest on Friday. At that juncture the Justice Department said it would not wait until Wednesday and will file emergency papers Monday morning.
In its brief on Friday, Government prosecutors called the opinion "unprecedented" and said that "the government has compelling arguments that it should be reversed." The government added that it was an "extraordinary injunction of worldwide scope."
According to lead plaintiff Chris Hedges: "The government has now lost four times in a litigation that has gone on almost nine (9) months. It lost the preliminary injunction in May. It lost a motion for reconsideration shortly thereafter. It lost the permanent injunction. It lost its request for a stay last week. We won't stop fighting this, but it is deeply disturbing that the Obama Administration, rather than protecting our civil liberties and our democracy, insists on further eroding them by expanding the power of the military to seize U.S. citizens and control our streets."
Added Afran: "The NDAA has been under an injunction since May when the Court issued the preliminary injunction barring use of the NDAA. Now, having waited nearly five months without seeking to reopen it, they do so during Rosh Hashanah when they know plaintiffs' counsel will be observing the religious holiday and unable to respond properly. If this is so urgent, why are they waiting until a religious holiday to reopen the law when they did nothing for the past four months?"
"This is identical to the administration's original tactic of signing the NDAA on New Year's Eve when most of the media and the nation were not paying attention."
SOURCE Carl Mayer