Stomp the Hypothetical

Among those caught up in the early “War on Terror” dragnet was a U.S. born Muslim named Abdullah al-Kidd.  Arrested in 2003 on his way to a flight to Saudi Arabia, he was claimed to be a material witness in a trial involving someone accused of helping al-qaeda recruit fresh meat.

Because, y’know, anyone with “Al” in their name other than Al Bundy is automatically a suspected violent jihadi.

Despite the material witness label, he was never actually called to testify.  Later, he legally called bullshit on the reason for his arrest, suing John Ashcroft (since at the time he had approved the dragnet).  Today, the Supreme Court did what it usually does in these cases and deferred to the holy, unquestionable, infallible judgment of the Executive branch and its minions, throwing out the suit.  Merely ripping out this seed of questioning wasn’t enough though, the earth it grew from had to be salted:

The court held there was no constitutional violation, and even if there was, Ashcroft would be protected by the immunity public officials enjoy from lawsuits over their official acts. [emphasis mine]

We know for a fact now that there was pretty much no concern for credibility, just a petty ongoing indiscriminate sweep.  Many of the ones caught up actually received worse treatment than al-Kidd, which is pretty shameful considering being held like a convicted serial killer over a year on the basis of jack squat is bad enough.  But never mind all that: Mr. Ashcroft was Just Doing His Job, and as such can not be held responsible for anything he did in the course of…his job.  Why, if government officials were liable for what they did, there would be utter chaos!

Sure…if by “utter chaos” you mean consideration of WTF they’re doing before they do it.

So, like liability limits in corporate law, there is apparently an entire liability block on political officials.  And to think politicians still run for office with boilerplate tripe about running the state like a business…


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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