Nearly two years after Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, and others filed suit against President Obama's administration challenging the provision in the National Defense Authorization Act that allows the U.S. military to indefinitely detain people on mere suspicion of assisting terrorists, the U.S. Supreme Court's final ruling is in: "Stand down!" was the Court's ultimate response to the plaintiffs' complaint.
The plaintiffs, journalists and activists whose work relates to overseas conflicts, won the first round of their lawsuit, successfully contending that the NDAA provision could subject them to being locked up for exercising constitutionally protected rights. In September 2012, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest issued a permanent injunction preventing the United States from invoking the part of the law authorizing indefinite detentions.
Obama, however, "stood up" to that decision by Judge Forrest, whom, ironically, he himself had appointed ("I must have been high at the time," the president later confessed).
A federal appeals court found that the plaintiffs did not have standing to sue because they did not show a "sufficient threat" that the government would detain them under the provision. The recent Supreme Court ruling upheld the appellate court's decision.
Quipped President Obama upon hearing the news of his hard-won Supreme Court victory, "Hell, I'd have given Chris Hedges a 'sufficient threat' if he'd just asked."
Chief Justice John Roberts similarly jested, "They can probably get standing in Guantanamo Bay if they really want it."
And the jokes didn't end there. In a wry concurring opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia cracked, "If these guys have such a problem with indefinite detention, maybe they'd benefit from some definite detention."