Ziglar v. Abbasi is the result of over a decade of remands and appeals. The case was originally filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of incarcerated Muslim, South Asian, and Arab non-citizens who were targeted after 9/11 by law enforcement as “terrorism suspects.” The defendants in the case, high level officials in the Bush administration, such as Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller, and low level detention officials, filed a motion to dismiss which was rejected by the in the District Court.
In 2009, the Supreme Court decided in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that government officials were not liable for discriminatory actions of their subordinates without evidence they directly ordered the actions. Meanwhile, five of the petitioners in Ziglar settled with the government, and the case was remanded to the District Court and amended. In 2010, the District Court granted a new motion of dismissal, but only for the high level officials. This dismissal was reversed by the Second Circuit and then the government petitioned the Supreme Court for review.
Professor Jamil Jaffer joined us to discuss the oral argument of this case, which was held on January 18.
- Prof. Jamil N. Jaffer, Adjunct Professor of Law and Director, Homeland and National Security Law Program, Antonin Scalia Law School and former Chief Counsel and Senior Advisor, Senate Foreign Relations Committee