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December 2021


How to Become a Bounty Hunter

Tag: Abdullah al-Kidd

Ex-Atty. Gen. Ashcroft Dodges Bullet; Supreme Court Tosses Lawsuit Against Him

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — Ex-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft is off the hook.

In an 8-0 ruling, the Supreme Court tossed out a lawsuit against Ashcroft. It overturned a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision, saying the former Attorney General under President Bush  enjoyed “qualified immunity” from a lawsuit filed by Abdullah al Kidd, a former University of Idaho football player who converted to Islam.

The court ruled that Ashcroft did not clearly violate the 4th Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures.

FBI agents arrested Kidd in 2003 at Dulles Airport and detained him for 16 days in three different states as a material witness supposedly for a pending case. He was never charged and never called as a witness.

Kidd claimed Ashcroft abused his power by detaining him as a material witness. He also alleged the arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims, regardless if whether they had ties to terrorism.

But the Supreme Court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, wrote: “The affidavit accompanying the warrant application (as al-Kidd concedes) gave individualized reasons to believe that he was a material witness and that he would soon disappear.”

“Qualified immunity gives government officials breathing room to make reasonable but mistaken judgments about open legal questions. When properly applied, it protects ‘all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly violate the law’,” the court wrote.

”We hold that an objectively reasonable arrest and detention of a material witness pursuant to a validly obtained warrant cannot be challenged as unconstitutional on the basis of allegations that the arresting authority had an improper motive. Because Ashcroft did not violate clearly established law, we need not address the more difficult question whether he enjoys absolute immunity.”

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor voted to overturn the lower court ruling, but conceded that the law in this area is not completely clear. Justice Elena Kagan did not participate.

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Supreme Court to Hear Case Against Ex-Atty. John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft/doj photo

John Ashcroft/doj photo

By Allan Lengel

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to examine an interesting issue regarding the aggressive 9/11 practices of the Bush Administration: Can a U.S. citizen who claims he was illegally detained sue former attorney general John D. Ashcroft?

The Washington Post reports that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Abdullah al-Kidd, a one-time University of Idaho football star who converted to Islam in college, can proceed with his suit that personally holds Ashcroft liable for his detention.

Ashcroft is claim immunity,  and the Obama administration, which is representing him, is asking that the suit be dismissed.

Al-Kidd was headed to Saudi Arabia to study when he arrested at Dulles International Airport in 2003, the Post reported, adding that he was held 15 nights in three states under the federal material-witness statute. He was never charged.

Al-Kidd believes his arrest was part of a bigger plan by the Bush administration to round up Muslims who did not have ties to terrorism.

To read more click here.