Supreme Court Dismisses Case on Indefinite Detention of Legal Resident

Lower Court's Ruling Void, But Court Declares Issue 'Moot'

The Supreme Court today vacated a ruling by the US Court of Appeals in the case of Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri, a legal resident of the United States who was declared by then-President Bush to be an enemy combatant and held without charges for several years. They did not, however, take up the case themselves, but rather declared the issue moot as the Obama Administration has since charged al-Marri and said it would give him an actual trial.

The previous ruling had determined that Congress had empowered the president to detain al-Marri as an enemy combatant. The ACLU had hoped to have the Supreme Court rule that lawful residents could not be held in military custody without charges or trial, but said it was glad the court had at least vacated the previous ruling to the contrary. Lead council Jonathan Hafetz added that “we trust that the Obama administration will not repeat the abuses of the Bush administration.”

A Qatari citizen, al-Marri was studying at Bradley University and was arrested for credit card fraud in 2001. Citing folders on his computer called “jihad arena” and “chem,” President Bush declared him an enemy combatant in 2003 and had him handed over to the Navy, where he has remained since.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of