Judge Affirms Obama's Detention Authority, Again

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A second federal judge has affirmed the Obama administration's right to detain Guantanamo detainees associated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. In a little noticed ruling late last week, judge Royce Lamberth endorsed the scope of authority delineated by another judge, Judge John Bates, who ruled that Obama may order the detention of anyone suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda -- with the definition of membership construed very broadly. Like Bates, Lamberth rejected the administration's desire to hold people who had provided "substnatial support" to Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but he, like Bates again, noted that the executive branch has the power to decide what constitutes membership. 

"However, the Court will still consider support of Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated enemy forces in determining whether a detainee should be considered "part of" those forces.

Like Bates, Lamberth implicitly endorsed the administration's contention that the source of its detention power was Congress's Authorization for the Use of Military Force in Afghanistan and not in Article II of the Constitution.

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Marc Ambinder is an Atlantic contributing editor. He is also a senior contributor at Defense One, a contributing editor at GQ, and a regular contributor at The Week.

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