FBI Director Robert Mueller and former Attorney General John Ashcroft cannot be sued by a former Sept. 11 detainee who claimed he was abused because of his religion and ethnicity, a sharply divided Supreme Court said Monday in a decision that could make it harder to sue top officials for the actions of low-level operatives.Being allowed to face your accusers in court and be given a chance to prove your claims? Letting a Muslim do this? What country does Souter think this is?
Iqbal is a Pakistani Muslim who spent nearly six months in solitary confinement in New York in 2002. He had argued that while Ashcroft and Mueller did not single him out for mistreatment, they were responsible for a policy of confining detainees in highly restrictive conditions because of their religious beliefs or race.
The court's liberal justices _ David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and John Paul Stevens _ dissented from the court's opinion.
"Iqbal contends that Ashcroft and Mueller were at the very least aware of the discriminatory detention policy and condoned it and perhaps even took part in devising it," Souter said. He should be given chance to prove his claims in court, Souter said.
But hey, Anthony Kennedy had a good line of defense. It was essentially "boys will be boys" and he then moved on to "it was for his own benefit" then moved on to "it was 9/11, laws didn't count after that" before finishing with "just because something targets greater proportions of Muslims and Arabs doesn't mean it targets greater proportions of Muslims and Arabs." His head then exploded from the cognitive dissonance.
So just in case you were holding out hope that some court case would be able to hold top dogs accountable for the interrogation and detainment policies and actions of lower level actors that they either implicitly supported or explicitly ordered...nope. Not under this court.