In what could be a landmark case involving members of the George W. Bush administration and abuses of constitutional rights after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Friday that former Attorney General John Ashcroft (left) can be sued by those who say they were wrongfully detailed in the days, weeks and months following the attacks.
The court ruling called the government’s actions "repugnant to the Constitution."
"We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history," wrote Judge Milan D. Smith Jr.
Abuses of individual and Constitutional rights became a hallmark of the Bush Administration in is self-declared "war on terror" as the administration used the vast resources of the National Security Agency to spy on Americans, held citizens without due process and turned the newly-created Department of Homeland Security into a vast, Gestapo-like agency with virtually unlimited power.
The ruling Friday deals with a the case of Abdullah al-Kid, a U.S. citizen, who says his constitutional rights were violated when the feds detained him as a "material witness" in a federal terrorism case in 2003.
A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit of Appeals say Ashcroft misused the material witness statute to detain al-Kidd, a former University of Idaho student, and any others he wished to investigate without due process.