| NEW YORK, Sept 12
NEW YORK, Sept 12 A federal judge made permanent
on Wednesday her order blocking enforcement of a U.S. law's
provision that authorizes military detention for people deemed
to have "substantially supported" al Qaeda, the Taliban or
U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest in Manhattan had ruled
in May in favor of non-profit groups and reporters whose work
relates to conflicts in the Middle East and who said they feared
being detained under a section of the law, signed by President
Barack Obama in December.
Wednesday's 112-page opinion turns the temporary injunction
of May into a permanent injunction. The United States appealed
on Aug. 6. [ID: nL2E8J6FTR]
The permanent injunction prevents the U.S. government from
enforcing a portion of Section 1021 of the National Defense
Authorization Act's "Homeland Battlefield" provisions.
The opinion stems from a January lawsuit filed by former
New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris
Hedges and others. The plaintiffs said they had no assurance
that their writing and advocacy activities would not fall under
the scope of the provision.
Government attorneys argued that the executive branch is
entitled to latitude when it comes to cases of national security
and that the law is neither too broad nor overly vague.
"This court does not disagree with the principle that the
president has primacy in foreign affairs," the judge said, but
that she was not convinced by government arguments.
"The government has not stated that such conduct - which, by
analogy, covers any writing, journalistic and associational
activities that involve al Qaeda, the Taliban or whomever is
deemed "associated forces" - does not fall within §
A spokeswoman for the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office,
which represents the government in this case, declined to
comment on the ruling.
The case is Hedges et al v. Obama et al, U.S. District Court
for the Southern District of New York, No. 12-cv-331.
(Reporting By Basil Katz, editing by Philip Barbara)