In May of 2011, Pulitzer prize winning author, Chris Hedges and several other prominent activists and politicians filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) alleging that it violated free speech and associational rights guaranteed by the First Amendment and due process rights guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Hedges asserted that section 1021 (pdf) of the bill, which authorized indefinite military detention for “a person who was a part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces,” left him, as a working journalist, vulnerable to indefinite detention because neither Congress nor the president defined the terms “substantial support,” “associated forces” or “directly supported.” [Emphasis added.]
In a landmark ruling last September, Judge Katherine Forrest of the Southern District of New York struck down the indefinite detention provision, saying it likely violates the First and Fifth Amendments of U.S. citizens. The Obama administration appealed. The arguments for that appeal will be heard today, Wednesday, February 6.
One of the seven plaintiffs, Pentagon Papers whistleblower, Daniel Ellsberg joined Amy Goodman and Nermeen Shaikh on Democracy Now! to discuss the case.