Monday, May 21, 2012

The Supreme Court and Government Surveillence - Whose precedent takes precedent?

So here’s one of those pesky questions of legal consistency the U.S. Supreme Court is supposed to sort out regularly: Can the Obama Administration get a lawsuit quashed on, essentially, lack of standing due to lack of harm grounds, after getting enjoined from putting the NDAA indefinite detention provisions in effect for esentially the same assertion? What’s the catch you say? Well the federal judge who ruled on the NDAA case specifically cited the plaintiffs fears of indefinite detention as probable cause for success on the merits, and enjoined the NDAA until the action could proceed and be completed. Given that this action before the Supreme Court is essentially on the same question – albeit under a different piece of federal legislation – will they respect the District Court’s precedent, or will they throw more turmoil into the air to try and acquiesce to the Surveillance State?

Seems to me the NDAA injunction gives the Supreme’s an out to let the surveillance lawsuit proceed – if they have the stones to tell the DoJ enough’s enough.

In support of their motion, Plaintiffs assert that § 1021 already has impacted their associational and expressive activities–and would continue to impact them, and that § 1021 is vague to such an extent that it provokes fear that certain of their associational and expressive activities could subject them to indefinite or prolonged military detention.

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