The $662 billion NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was signed by President Obama at the end of last year; despite "serious reservations". At issue was a provision that would allow indefinite detention of American citizens, without due process.
The ACLU has called the detention provision "dangerous" and lamented that the "indefinite military detention without charge or trial into law [could take place] for the first time in American history". The Washington Post reported that the provision would "allow the military greater authority to detain and interrogate U.S. citizens and non-citizens and deny them legal rights protected by the Constitution."
In fact, an amendment was introduced that stated that indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial was forbidden. However, that amendment was rejected in the Senate by a vote of 38-60. Obama even threatened to veto the bill. Why did Obama sign the NDAA, even though he expressed concern over its contents? The stated reason was simple... military funding was due to expire.
At the time, President Obama said, "The fact that I support this bill as a whole does not mean I agree with everything in it." He continued, "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens." So the question begs to be asked: Why did the Obama Administration appeal a temporary injunction against the provision this month?
As reported by Stephanie Whiteside of Current, a group of journalists and activists filed suit against President Barack Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, saying that the provision is unconstitutional.
District Judge Katherine Forrest issued a preliminary injunction, which would prevent the government from enforcing the provision, but the administration is appealing the ruling to a higher court, as reported by Joe Wolverton, II, who describes the court proceedings.
President Obama said at the time,
"My Administration will interpret section 1021 in a manner that ensures that any detention it authorizes complies with the Constitution, the laws of war, and all other applicable law."
Judge Katherine Forrest quoted Chief Justice John Roberts during the proceedings, "We would not uphold an unconstitutional statute merely because the government promised to use it reasonably."
How is it that President Obama can threaten to veto the bill over the unconstitutional detention provision, and then later appeal a ruling that would stop the provision from being enforced? Did he change his mind on the value of the detention provision?