The NDAA has had its day in court, again. In the first round, Federal Judge Katherine Forrest ruled the law to be unconstitutional and ordered a block on the executive powers. That ruling was immediately appealed by the Obama administration who also placed an emergency stay on the injunction.
In round two on Wednesday, a three-judge panel heard arguments from both sides. Seeking to overturn Judge Forest's ruling, the government is making the case that the Federal Government has "decades of experience" with this broad authority and "hasn't detained any US citizens". (Tell that to Bradley Manning, who has been detained in "inhumane conditions tantamount to torture" as described by the United Nations, for over 1000 days and counting without a formal trial.)
In one of the highlights of the case, a judge expressed skepticism by asking if this is the first time Congress has passed a law "affirming an already existing authority", which the representative for the government confirmed. The plaintiffs attorney argued that there is no need of a law to codify another law. Judge Kaplan offered the question: "what about the fact that prior existing law involving detention might be unconstitutional?" This discourse and apparent skepticism of the judges panel could be a good sign, we'll see.
One thing's for sure….this case is going to the Supreme Court, regardless of the outcome of round two.
Hedges v. Obama, Round II