WCW Home News Recent News 10-19-16 Supreme Court taking on John Ashcroft
10-19-16 Supreme Court taking on John Ashcroft PDF Print E-mail

From Center of Constitutional Rights | Original Article


"The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to decide whether high-ranking George W. Bush administration officials… may be held liable for policies adopted after the Sept. 11 attacks," the New York Times reported last week. It was big news — also covered in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and NBC News — about a case that CCR first filed in 2002 and that we have been doggedly pursuing ever since.

The policies in question are the round-up, detention, and abuse of hundreds of Muslim, Arab, and South Asian men after 9/11. The officials include Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and INS Commissioner James Ziglar.

Turkmen v. Ashcroft names both these former Bush administration officials and the prison officials who directly oversaw the abuse as defendants. The district court had allowed only the claims against the prison officials to move forward. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the claims against the high-level officials.

For over 14 years, CCR has insisted that no one is above the law, no matter how exalted their role. The appeals court agreed, saying, "The suffering endured by those who were imprisoned merely because they were caught up in the hysteria of the days immediately following 9/11 is not without a remedy."

Now we're preparing to persuade the Supreme Court. "At a time when racial and religious profiling are put forward as serious policy proposals for dealing with everything from immigration to terrorism," Senior Staff Attorney Rachel Meeropol said, "it is more important than ever that the high court affirm that government officials, especially those at the highest levels, can be held accountable when they break the law. We look forward to making that argument before the justices."

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