Posted by Nadia N. Aziz on January 18, 2017 in Blog

The Obama Justice Department will spend its final 48 hours fighting against the rights of post-9/11 detainees at the Supreme Court later today in the case of Ziglar v Abbasi. At stake is the ability of the detainees to challenge unconstitutional policies by seeking damages from federal officials. The case itself stems from the post 9/11 roundup of hundreds, often based on nothing more than unfounded reports, discrimination, or outright bias. In fact, a Justice Department IG later rebuked officials for the “indiscriminate and haphazard” way in which they erroneously classified many of these individuals as terror suspects.

In the case of such egregious rights violations at the hands of our government, suing for damages is often the only way to push back. The former detainees are challenging their treatment by suing then Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller. 

The U.S. government seeks to prevent the detainees from seeking damages for the violation of their constitutional rights, citing national security issues during the time -  a dangerous precedent at a particularly important moment in our nation’s history. 

This case will be heard before the Supreme Court just 48 hours ahead of Donald Trump being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States, bringing renewed gravity.

AAI has signed onto the Amicus Brief defending an individual’s right to sue U.S. officials for constitutional violations. 

The Constitution grants rights to Americans and those within her borders during the most challenging of times. The days after the terrorist attacks of September 11th were trying times. The Supreme Court needs to affirm that it upholds constitutional rights for all - even the most vulnerable - during the most trying of times.