Judge rules Bush ex­ec­u­tive or­der in­valid

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jerry Seper

Pres­i­dent Bush lacks the con­sti­tu­tional author­ity to des­ig­nate groups and per­sons as ter­ror­ists un­der a post-Septem­ber 11 ex­ec­u­tive or­der, ac­cord­ing to a fed­eral judge in Los An­ge­les.

U.S. Dis­trict Judge Au­drey B. Collins,in­achal­lenge­brought­bythe Wash­ing­ton, D.C.-based Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tional Rights on be­half of theHu­man­i­tar­i­anLawPro­ject,said a Sept. 24, 2001, ex­ec­u­tive or­der nam­ing 27 groups and per­sons as “spe­cially des­ig­nated global ter­ror­ists” (SDGTs) al­lowed no way for those des­ig­nated to chal­lenge the rul­ing.

In a 45-page rul­ing, Judge Collins said the ex­ec­u­tive or­der “con­tains no de­fin­able cri­te­ria” to con­strain the pres­i­dent’s use of it, and, as a re­sult, “is un­con­sti­tu­tion­ally vague on its face.” She said the or­der is sub­ject only to Mr. Bush’s “un­fet­tered dis­cre­tion.”

The judge also said the or­der “con­tains no de­fin­able cri­te­ria for des­ig­nat­ing in­di­vid­u­als and groups as SDGTs,” and im­prop­erly gives the sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury the pow­er­toim­posepenalties­for“mere as­so­ci­a­tion” with the groups.

The rul­ing, made pub­lic on Nov. 28, came in a law­suit in which the Hu­man­i­tar­i­anLawPro­ject,through the Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tional Rights, sought to sup­port the non­vi­o­lent work of two groups des­ig­nated as ter­ror­ist: The Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Party, the main Kur­dish po­lit­i­cal party in Turkey, and the Lib­er­a­tion Tiger­sofTamilEe­lam,are­bel­group fight­ing­forasep­a­rate­home­land­for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

“This law gave the pres­i­dent un­fet­teredau­thor­i­ty­tocre­ate­black­lists, an author­ity Pres­i­dent Bush then used­toem­pow­erthes­ec­re­tary­ofthe Trea­sury to im­pose guilt by as­so­ci­a­tion,” said David Cole, a Cen­ter for Con­sti­tu­tion­alRights­board­mem­ber.

“The court’s de­ci­sion con­firms that even in fight­ing ter­ror, unchecked ex­ec­u­tive author­ity and tram­plin­gon­fun­da­men­tal­free­doms is not a per­mis­si­ble op­tion,” he said.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment said the agency thought Judge Collins had erred in her de­ci­sion.

Days af­ter the Septem­ber 11 at­tacks, Mr. Bush in­voked his author­ity un­der the In­ter­na­tional Emer­gency Eco­nomic Pow­ers Act and is­sued Ex­ec­u­tive Or­der 13224, declar­ing that the “grave acts of ter­ror­ism” and the “con­tin­u­ing and im­me­di­ate threat of fu­ture at­tacks” on the United States con­sti­tuted a na­tional emer­gency.

He blocked all prop­erty and in­ter­ests in prop­erty of 27 groups and per­sons, each of whom were iden­ti­fiedaster­ror­ists.Heal­soau­tho­rized the sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury, in con­sul­ta­tion with the sec­re­tary of state and the at­tor­ney gen­eral, to des­ig­natead­di­tion­al­ter­ror­ist­groups and per­sons un­der the or­der.

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