Supreme Court Delivers ‘Dangerous Message’: Immunity For Former Bush Officials Over 9/11 Detentions

'This decision regrettably provides constitutional immunity for some of the most high-level officials responsible for gross abuses in the aftermath of September 11,' said ACLU's Hina Shamsi.

Immunity For Former Bush Officials Over 9/11 Detentions
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is among the officials the nation’s high court has said cannot be sued for his role in the unconstitutional detention of a group of non-U.S. citizens swept up in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. (AP/Charles Dharapak)

The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday that former George W. Bush officials cannot be held liable for the abuse and detention of a group of Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens swept up in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

“This decision regrettably provides constitutional immunity for some of the most high-level officials responsible for gross abuses in the aftermath of September 11,” stated Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project.

The 4-2 ruling (pdf) overturns a 2015 decision by a lower court, and marks a victory for the officials in question: former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller (who’s now serving as special counsel to investigate the ties between Russia and Trump’s election campaign), and former Immigration and Naturalization Service Commissioner James Ziglar.

The former wardens at the detention facility Dennis Hasty and James Sherman were also named in the case.

As the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), which first brought the suit forward, explains, the plaintiffs sought accountability for the officials’ role “in ordering racial and religious profiling and abuse in detention, in violation of the detainees’ rights under the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments.

Our clients were held in a specially-created Administrative Maximum Special Housing Unit (ADMAX SHU), in solitary confinement. They were purposefully deprived of sleep, denied contact with the outside world, beaten and verbally abused, and denied the ability to practice their religion.”

Their detention was based “on their race, religion, ethnicity, and immigration status,” CCR says.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority: “Allowing a damages suit in this context, or in a like context in other circumstances, would require courts to interfere in an intrusive way with sensitive functions of the Executive Branch.”

“The risk of personal damages liability is more likely to cause an official to second-guess difficult but necessary decisions concerning national-security policy,” Kennedy continued.

The decision also noted the “telling silence” of Congress and argues that there is “a balance to be struck, in situations like this one, between deterring constitutional violations and freeing high officials to make the lawful decisions necessary to protect the Nation in times of great peril.” But the “proper balance is one for the Congress, not the Judiciary, to undertake.”

“We are very disappointed with the Court’s dismissal of our clients’ claims,” said CCR senior staff attorney Rachel Meeropol. “The Court’s decision allows for high-level officials to violate the Constitution without fear of personal accountability—a dangerous message in this time of rampant state-sponsored discrimination against Muslim and immigrant communities.”

For one of the plaintiffs, Benamar Benatta, the ruling is “is a total failure of justice.”

“To this day we see high-level officials either retired or still holding office talk and praise the effectiveness of torture and mistreatment of detainees despite mounting evidence to the contrary! It is only by holding high-level officials to account when their policies are ineffective or discriminatory that a country can properly heal and look forward to the future,” Benatta said.

Justice Stephen Breyer, who was joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, issued the dissenting opinion.

“If I may paraphrase Justice [John Marshall] Harlan,” wrote Breyer, “in wartime as well as in peacetime, it is important, in a civilized society, that the judicial branch of the Nation’s government stand ready to afford a remedy for the most flagrant and patently unjustified, unconstitutional abuses of official power.”

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Russia & China Declare All Out War on US Petrodollar — Prepare for Exclusive Trade in Gold

The formation of a BRICS gold marketplace, which could bypass the U.S. Petrodollar in bilateral trade, continues to take shape as Russia’s largest bank,...

State Deals Blow to Federal Reserve, House Passes Bill To Treat Silver and Gold as Money

An Arizona bill that would eliminate state capital gains taxes on gold and silver specie, and encourage its use as currency, passed an important...

The Total Number of Coronavirus Cases Could be 10 Times Higher Than Official Numbers !?

The head of Italy’s civil protection authority says he feared the true number of people infected with...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

Bombs Have Been Dropped in Nevada – U.S. is Responsible

Apparently, America is now using Nevada's land to test bombs. With each passing day, the U.S. continues to follow their own personal agenda. A report did reveal...

Oklahoma High Schooler’s Carbon Discovery Elicits Wonder From Experts

Taking teenage rebellion to a new level, Oklahoma high school senior George Wang stunned teachers and fellow students when in April he co-authored a...

Russia & China Declare All Out War on US Petrodollar — Prepare for Exclusive Trade in Gold

The formation of a BRICS gold marketplace, which could bypass the U.S. Petrodollar in bilateral trade, continues to take shape as Russia’s largest bank,...

Stanford Will Now Be Free To All Students From Families That Earn Less Than $125,000 Per Year

Last week, Stanford University announced that more accepted students won’t have to pay anything for tuition, which normally runs nearly $46,000 a year. Students whose...

Texas Eugenicist Scientist Encouraged Ebola Outbreak

The pandemic Ebola crisis is taking up headlines globally. Kit Daniels reports, “Despite the fact that doctors in Africa cannot keep Ebola from spreading, United...

Mexico City Legislators Ask To Ban Donald Trump From Their Country

Legislators in Mexico City are asking the federal government to ban Donald Trump from entering the country, citing the GOP presidential hopeful’s repeated anti-Mexican...

NASA offering $18,000 for human lab rats to stay in bed

Nasa pays $18,000 to allow human lab rats to stay in bed for 70 days and nights NASA will pay $18,000 to anyone prepared to...

Trump Considers Pulling All US Troops Out of Afghanistan

After months of the Pentagon failing to sell a concrete plan of military escalation in Afghanistan to the White House, officials now say that the...

Utah Is Ending Homelessness By Giving People Homes

It seems a tragic paradox that there are more empty houses in the United States than there are homeless people, yet 1,75,000 individuals still...

Bolivia to Be Completely Food Independent in 2020 by Investing in Small Farmers

Bolivia - How can we go about tackling climate change while promoting a flourishing local economy and ensuring food security, all at the same...