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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.

Court hears argument over post-9/11 arrest

An article published by the Associated Press Wednesday, March 2 entitled "Court hears argument over post-9/11 arrest, reports that The Supreme Court has considered whether to allow former Attorney General John Ashcroft to be sued for an American Muslim's post-Sept. 11 arrest and detention using a law intended to make sure witnesses testify in criminal proceedings.

AP reports: 

"Lower court judges have come down on opposite sides about whether an arrest under a material witness warrant like the one used on Abdullah al-Kidd in 2003 is constitutional. Making prosecutors financially liable in that situation might be unfair to them when they have to make high-pressure decisions on how to fight crime and terrorism, Chief Justice John Roberts said.

"And that type of burden is particularly heavy when you're talking about if they guess wrong, it comes out of their pocket," Roberts said. "And if I'm the officer in that situation, I say, well, I'm just not going to run the risk of, you know, having to sell the house because I agreed with" the losing side in a judicial opinion."

Additionally, Solicitor General Neal Katya argued that Ashcroft also should be shielded from suits concerning his official duties.

"The prosecutor's act of seeking the material witness warrant is integrally associated with the judicial process and entitled to absolute immunity," Katyal said. "To view it any other way is to expose both line prosecutors and high officials to lawsuits by highly incentivized litigants based on their purportedly bad motives."

The court is expected to make its decision in June, 2011. For the full text of the AP article, click here.

For an earlier blog post on Al-Kidd, click here

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