Major Ruling (Partly) Limiting Abusive Presidential Power

Judge strikes down part of Bush anti-terror order.

A federal judge in Los Angeles, who previously struck down sections of the Patriot Act, has ruled that provisions of an anti-terrorism order issued by President George W. Bush after September 11 are unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that part of the law, signed by Bush on September 23, 2001 and used to freeze the assets of terrorist organizations, violated the Constitution because it put no apparent limit on the president’s powers to place groups on that list.

“This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists, an authority president Bush then used to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to impose guilt by association,” said David Cole of the Washington-based Center for Constitutional Rights.

I’m looking forward to reading this decision. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet been able to find a copy on Westlaw or elsewhere. Meanwhile, here’s some background on the litigation.

Interestingly, the judge’s preliminary observations on the case, several months ago and prior to an additional round of briefing, indicated a leaning towards upholding the statute.

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