While CIA director nominee John Brennan faces a grilling at his Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday over the legal reasoning behind Obama’s “kill lists,” another sprawling stain on the Obama administration’s civil liberties record went back to court. A three-judge panel at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan heard oral arguments from lead plaintiff, Pulitzer Prize-winner Chis Hedges, and attorneys in the lawsuit over the indefinite detention provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
The controversial provision 1021(b)(2) of 2012 NDAA gives the government the power to indefinitely hold U.S. citizens in military detention. Hedges, later joined by plaintiffs including Noam Chomsky and Daniel Ellsberg, filed suit against the president to squash the statute. In a landmark ruling last September, federal judge Katherine Forrest struck down the indefinite detention provision, saying it likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens. President Obama’s attorneys swiftly appealed Judge Forrest’s ruling and sought an emergency stay on the injunction. On Wednesday, according to the plaintiffs’ attorneys, the court “honed in” to the issues underpinning the legal argument between the Department of Justice and the plaintiffs supporters have dubbed “The Magnificent Seven.”