Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, March 22, 2010 11:53 pm

Meanwhile, John Ashcroft is frantically transferring assets into his wife’s name …

So there’s this American citizen. Got a funny name, Abdullah al-Kidd, but he’s still an American citizen. And a long time ago, back when the pants-wetters were in control, the government decided he was a terrorist. And it detained him. Illegally. For more than a year. Without charging him or asking him to testify against anyone else.

I suppose al-Kidd got mad. But he’s also trying to get even, in the most American of ways: He is suing then-Attorney General John Ashcroft. Last September, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that al-Kidd’s suit could go ahead to trial because Ashcroft’s behavior in allowing al-Kidd to be treated this way had been so egregious that the normal rules that protect public officials against lawsuits for doing their jobs didn’t apply.

Ashcroft asked the full 9th Circuit to hear his appeal. Late last week, it said, unambiguously, No. al-Kidd’s suit against Ashcroft can proceed to trial.

Now, whether or not al-Kidd can prove his claim, let alone get any money out of Ashcroft for it, is another question entirely. And, frankly, Ashcroft is lucky he’s only getting sued, not indicted. But the appeals court’s decision to let this case go to trial is a huge victory for the rule of law and might be the most important step yet in holding the lawless senior officials of the Bush 43 administration accountable.

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