Southern District Judge Katherine Forrest (See Profile) yesterday made permanent an injunction blocking enforcement of part of a law allowing the indefinite detention and trial by military commission of any person who “substantially supported” al-Qaeda, the Taliban or “associated forces” in armed conflict against the United States.
Following a preliminary injunction she issued in the spring (NYLJ May 17), Forrest ruled for journalists and activists challenging §1021(b)(2) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 on the grounds that it was so vague it would sweep up anyone who contacted designated terror groups. “The Government already has ample authorization to pursue those actually involved in the attacks on September 11, 2001, and it has a host of criminal statutes…it can use to prosecute those who engage in a variety of activities that endanger lives or constitute terrorism,” Forrest said in Hedges v. Obama, 12 Civ. 331. The plaintiffs, she added, presented “evidence that First Amendment rights have already been harmed and will be harmed by the prospect of §1021(b)(2) being enforced.”