Judge Katherine Forrest is a Modern American Hero

Sometimes, the greatest deeds are done by those who are just doing their jobs, like Judge Katherine Forrest who last week struck down the indefinite detention provision (§1021) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

It would be all too easy in this age of ever-encroaching authoritarianism in America for a judge ruling on a matter like this to just go with the government line and throw water over the plaintiffs. After all, telling truth to power has consequences. Forrest was appointed by Obama, but after this ruling one wonders whether she is about to meet a career dead-end. Power — especially narcissistic power — does not like being told uncomfortable truths.

Everything about this case is shameful; it should be obvious to anyone who can read the Constitution that indefinite detention without trial (just like assassination without trial — something else that Obama and his goons have no problem practicing and defending) is hideously and cruelly unconstitutional. It defecates upon both the words and the spirit of the document.

It is directly and completely in contravention to the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

It is shameful that this law was proposed, it is shameful that any legislator would vote for it, and it is shameful that the President would sign it into law, albeit with a flimsy signing-statement claiming that he would not use the indefinite detention provision against American citizens.

More shameful still is the fact that when this challenge was brought that the Obama administration tried to dismiss it on a technicality — they tried to make the case that because none of the plaintiffs were to be indefinitely detained that they could not challenge the law. Judge Forrest’s investigation of this claim was revealing. Naomi Wolf notes:

Forrest asked repeatedly, in a variety of different ways, for the government attorneys to give her some assurance that the wording of section 1021 could not be used to arrest and detain people like the plaintiffs. Finally she asked for assurance that it could not be used to sweep up a hypothetical peaceful best-selling nonfiction writer who had written a hypothetical book criticizing US foreign policy, along lines that the Taliban might agree with. Again and again the two lawyers said directly that they could not, or would not, give her those assurances. In other words, this back-and-forth confirmed what people such as Glenn Greenwald, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, the ACLU and others have been shouting about since January: the section was knowingly written in order to give the president these powers; and his lawyers were sent into that courtroom precisely to defeat the effort to challenge them. Forrest concluded: “At the hearing on this motion, the government was unwilling or unable to state that these plaintiffs would not be subject to indefinite detention under [section] 1021. Plaintiffs are therefore at risk of detention, of losing their liberty, potentially for many years.

Very simply, it is now obvious that the NDAA was written not to deal with terrorists or potential terrorists. After all, if the government has evidence that an individual or group is planning to commit a terrorist attack then they do not need an indefinite detention provision; all they need is to arrest such individuals and prove beyond reasonable doubt before a jury of their peers that a crime has been committed. That is how justice works — if the evidence exists you can bring a successful prosecution. After all if they do not have the evidence to prove that a group or individual was planning to commit an act of terrorism then they have no business arresting them or charging them with any offense. Suspects — lest we forget — are innocent until proven guilty.

These new powers have nothing to do with combatting terrorism. If the government has no evidence that can stand up in a court of law it has no business detaining anyone. No, this new power grab has an entirely different target — like the plaintiffs in this case: writers, investigative journalists, bloggers, philosophers, dissidents, human rights activists, libertarians, free-thinkers, tax protestors, critics of fractional-reserve banking, whistleblowers — people like Chris Hedges, Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, Jennifer Bolen, and Birgitta Jonsdottir. People like Congressman Justin Amash and Congressman Adam Smith who tried to amend indefinite detention out of the bill. People like me — and to some degree, if you are reading this, people like you. 

The fact that the Obama administration could not give assurances about those who simply criticise U.S. foreign policy indicates very strongly that this power grab is about shutting-up and frightening critics of the U.S. government and the Obama administration.

But — for now —  §1021 of the NDAA, that implement of fascism, has been struck down and thrown out as “facially unconstitutional” as well as having a “chilling impact on First Amendment rights”.

We should be thankful for this brave judge’s actions, and for the plaintiffs’ actions in standing up to tyranny, and vigilant against future incursions.

On the other hand, every politician involved in writing, legislating and authorising this hideous unconstitutional law should be reminded of the words of the Declaration of Independence — it is the right of the people to alter or abolish any government that becomes destructive to liberty.

52 thoughts on “Judge Katherine Forrest is a Modern American Hero

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: Judge Katherine Forrest Is A Modern American Hero » A Taoistmonk's Life

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  3. Reblogged this on Hawks5999 and commented:
    The federal government needs these laws because they have all but openly declared war on the people of the USA. If enough Americans ever wake up this, there will be an overwhelming force of ‘enemy combatants’ fka citizens.

  4. Wow, a judge that actually believes in the Constitution and human rights and the presumption of innocence!

    Remember Judges are appointed by Politicians. Who wields ultimate power? Is it the Judges, Politicians, Voters, Media or the people who pull the strings? An Australian newspaper in financial trouble (Falling ad revenue due to internet businesses) is thrown a lifeline by our richest oligarch. Do Politicians now fall into line fearing unfavourable articles?

    I read an opinion article in my local broadsheet paper. It was factually wrong, and had not reporter/author. I wrote to the Editor asking for an explanation and who wrote it. Nothing. No response. It was clearly a propaganda exercise. Who sanctioned this article? The damage is done, people read the paper and the lies are perpetuated. At least I can feel better in myself that I let them know I am not prepared to sit idly by and let this rubbish happen. It is Misleading and Deceptive conduct, and we have laws in this country to prosecute business if it engages in misleading and deceptive conduct. But first we need the Government agency to prosecute, and a Judge to pass judgment. Yeah right!

    I can see why the bring in the NDAA. With the internet, people are learning. Some people have noble values. Some will be prepared to make life difficult for tyrants. In China, dissidents are routinely dealt with. What makes this different in the West? Are we holier than thou?

    If Hitler won, would we be praising the values of National Socialism? Would we have been educated in schools, that the Fuhrer saved us from the evil Bankster? Would the same person hailed as a hero for killing Hitler, be condemned as a terrorist in another scenario.

    History is written by the victors. Question, challenge, and pray you have a judge prepared to throw their career under a bus to save you.

    • If Hitler won, would we be praising the values of National Socialism? Would we have been educated in schools, that the Fuhrer saved us from the evil Bankster? Would the same person hailed as a hero for killing Hitler, be condemned as a terrorist in another scenario.

      History is written by the victors. Question, challenge, and pray you have a judge prepared to throw their career under a bus to save you.

      I fear so.

  5. Is RT anti American


    I think this is clearly and indication of the times. If the NDAA is not overturned, stories like this will be common in the USA.

    The general public would not bat an eyelid.

    I remember the news reels by the Nazis, which showed “terrorists” being arrested and bought to justice. Communist provocateurs!

    Only after the war did we learn that they were Jews being persecuted.

    • RT is a very interesting channel. If I want to learn the truth about a nation, I would want to hear what its enemies and rivals have to say about it. The only balanced journalism will come from listening to a variety of sources.

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  9. Latent Dictatorship mode is part of the Democratic form of government. It can shift from one mode to another in a blink of an eye. It is Monarchy which acknowledged Habeous Corpus. It is the Structuralist Democratic State that erodes such laws. It seems to me that big centralized government is attempting to consolidate its power over people, Terrorism, Rendition (where the State actually flies people away to torture them), Guantanamo Bay ( a gulag beyond the law), the financial crisis are all giving more and more power to the state. When the financial crisis hits deeper the people who might rebel against big government will be branded enemies of the state and killed.

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  14. I must concur that Judge Forrest is a hero. But I have a follow-up question or three.

    Have we established that America’s government education system is really worse than it was more than 20 years ago? If someone has, I must present contrary evidence, in the forms of Sens. Carl Levin and John McCain, along with the other 91 thumb-up-their-butt Senators (and the equally repulsive members of the House) that voted FOR the original bill that had this provision included.

    Is there any evidence that these butt-wipes have learned how to read yet? It says in the Constitution (not just the Amendments) that there is a specific procedure of legislation that must be followed to change (amend) any part of the Constitution; this is NOT the procedure that was followed in the passage of this disaster of a theft of liberties.

    Can anyone take seriously the statements that are made by the supporters of the current regime, who will say that anyone opposing their treasonous ideas is a threat to the nation or is being un-American? Especially when their female patron saint, Hilarious Clinton, says that, “It is patriotic to dissent.”

    • Whatever you think, the “king” and his minions apparently can decide you or I or anyone else is a “terrorist” and guilty of treason for simply disagreeing with them. The fact that this can land you in one of the re-education camps your tax dollars are building for an indefinite period of time is the BIG issue — and one to fear.

  15. I agree that she should be applauded (I guess) for doing her job, i know that seems to be a rarity these days. In regards to the actual attempt by Mr. OBAMA and his administration trying to push this trhough, it should not be surprising at all. As it was famously said, “if you control the present, you control the past. If you control the past, you control the future.” I believe Mr. OBAMA figured as long as he is in control the security state apparatus is successful in continuing to ratchet it up, people in the future would only get a positive spin on the necessity of such measures. It seems like he took a page out of the playbook of his fellow Illinois President, Mr Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Lincoln suspended habeas corpus as well, conscripted civilians against their will – and violently surpressed riots against the draft, Encouraged voter fraud to get re-elected by having supporters stuff ballot boxes and sending the Army to polling stations to ask people to take an oath of allegiance to Lincoln and the republican party as they entered, arrested over 13,000 northern civilians with no formal charge – other than suspected opposition to his administration and the party – and sent many of the to POW camps until the war ended, had members of congress and the senate kicked out for not being loyal enough (one of them becuase he wrote a letter to Jefferson Davis and addressed him as President of the Confederacy)….I could go on but i think you get the picture. The north won, the history books for the public schools were written and low and behold – a saint was born. I heard Mr. OBAMA’s architect is already showing him designs for his monument of HOPE in D.C 🙂

    • Thanks Nuno. When I visited the uSA, I had a faint suspicion the civil war was over more than slavery. I think a whole lot of issues were at stake. State rights, Trade etc. I will look into these accusations against Abraham Lincoln. I always thought he was a Saint.

      • Sad truth is the Civil War was not really about slavery. I wish it had been about slavery. I wish Lincoln’s goal had been freeing the slaves, but it wasn’t. Lincoln was a slavery apologist who only freed the slaves opportunistically after the South seceded due to their opposition to his taxation scheme. Now I think that if the North’s aim had been to end slavery that would have been great. Slavery is the antithesis to everything I stand for. But really the Civil War was a war between two dark shades of grey. I am glad the North won and slavery was ended, but I am not glad for Lincoln’s authoritarian precedents, nor the effective end of the 9th and 10th Amendments and massively increased federalism.

        • Aziz: yes, Lincoln waged this war for many reasons (and none of them was about slavery). You’re right about him being a slavery apologist – he’s often cited as the first President to have african-americans in the White House. What they don’t tell you is that the meeting with these gentlemen was to tell them that they may be equal but only in their own land, not here. He urged them to accept being colonized to Liberia. Further, the emancipation proclomation was a strategic move part way through the war when Lincoln was afraid Britain would side with the south and break his blockade. Notice it only declared slaves free in the confederacy (where he had no power whatsoever) and did nothing about slaves that were in states still in the union under his control. It’s interesting that you say you’re glad that the north won. I too am against slavery of course, but since slavery was ending all over the world without wars, was it really worth 0ver 1 million lives, devestation of property, and the changes to the central powers of the government to get the result in this fashion. People seem to ignore the fact that less than 25% of people in the south at the time belonged to a family that owned slaves and there were less than 100 slaves in the entire western territories of the south…..i.e. slavery was dying on its own. One of the biggest debunking of the idea that southerners were bad and wanted to fight for slavery is less than 25% involved with slavery, over 75% of the citizens support and participate in the war effort. In contrast, Lincoln couldn’t get enough soldiers so was drafting them – mostly immigrants just off the boat. Once the slavery card was pulled out part way through the war, lots of northern soldiers quit because they were pro slavery and were told they had been fighting to save the union. General Grant was quoted as saying something like “if this war were about freeing slaves, i’d quit my post and raise my sword to join the other side”.

      • There are two excellent books on these issues by Tom DiLorenzo. … “The Real Lincoln” and “Lincoln Unmasked” Also, if you google him, there are articles and if you don’t have time to read the books, there are some talks he has done with overviews of the subject matter on youtube. There is also something called “Liberty Classroom” from Tom Woods (it’s something like $100 for a membership) where you get tons of excellent college level history lessons on everything from western civilization to US History and it’s the REAL history, i.e. unsanitzed by government regulated textbooks.

  16. The constitution allows the suspension of habeas corpus:

    “The right of writs of habeas corpus are granted in Article I, Section 9, clause 2 of the Constitution, which states, “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”

    I guess Lincolns saw a legal opportunity.


    As to vote rigging, can you give me a reference.

    • Oh good. By the way, this video smacks me as total fiction, sounds like something someone listened to too much Alex Jones and had a mental breakdown. The video maker does not get the concept of compartmentalisation.

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  35. Katherine Forrest is the farthest thing from an American hero. Psychopath who has a track record of handing out obscenely long sentences for non-violent offenders.

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