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... supports Professor William Snyder's sections of National Security Law, Counterterrorism Law, and Prosecuting Terrorists at the Syracuse University College of Law.

US citizen recalls ‘humiliating’ post-9/11 arrest

The Associated Press reports yesterday, February 27, 2011, in an article entitled "US citizen recalls 'humiliating' post-9/11 arrest," that the Supreme Court is weighing whether Abdullah al-Kidd's 2001 arrest and detention violated the Fourth Amendment's prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures. The court, which will hear arguments Wednesday in the case, also is being asked to decide whether former Attorney General John Ashcroft can be held personally liable for his role in setting the policy that led to al-Kidd's arrest at a Dulles ticket counter as he prepared to board a flight to Saudi Arabia.

Al-Kidd, now 38, was one of about 70 men, almost all Muslims, who were arrested and held in the months and years after Sept. 11 under a federal law intended to compel reluctant witnesses to testify to grand juries and at criminal trials.

AP reports,

"The material witness law has existed in some form since 1789. But after Sept. 11, al-Kidd argues in his lawsuit, federal authorities began using it to take someone suspected of ties to terrorism off the streets even when they had insufficient evidence to believe he had committed a crime.

Ashcroft and other high-ranking officials publicly described the importance of using the material witness law against suspected terrorists, including U.S. citizens. Less than two months after Sept. 11, Ashcroft said that the "aggressive detention of lawbreakers and material witnesses is vital to preventing, disrupting or delaying new attacks."

For the full text of the AP article, click here

More on Al-Kidd:

In an editorial published in the Washington Post, entitled High Court Should Overturn Kidd v. Ashcroft, the editorial board examines Al-Kidd v. Ashcroft, which is scheduled to be taken up by the Supreme Court today, Wednesday March 2.

The editorial board argues that the Supreme Court should overturn the Ninth Circuit’s decision, writing that “[a]n official may be stripped of legal immunity only if he violates clearly established constitutional norms….But in 2003, there was no legal precedent on which Mr. Ashcroft could rely to determine whether the department had the right to use the warrant more freely in national security matters.”

For the full text of the editorial, see High Court Should Overturn Kidd v. Ashcroft.

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