Can President Obama use a WWII-era Supreme Court precedent to detain U.S. citizens? That’s the question posed by an appeal to the Supreme Court, Hedges v. Obama (docket 13-758). The concern is that the President might rely on the infamous 1944 decision Korematsu v. United States to detain U.S. citizens under National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. The following language in the act is at issue:
Authorities. — Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect existing law or authorities relating to the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident aliens of the United States, or any other persons who are captured or arrested in the United States. [Section 1021 (e)]
Attorneys for the plaintiff argue that the President could claim that Korematsu is “existing law or authorites” under the act and that therefore he has the power to detain U.S. citizens. A Federal District Court in New York agreed with the plaintiff and issued a permanent injunction against the use of those detention powers; however, the 2nd Circuit stayed the injunction.
Will the Supreme Court reverse the 2nd Circuit? The attorneys who represented Korematsu and others in a successful effort to remove the stain of Korematsu v. United States from their names are hoping Solicitor General Donald Verrilli will join with them is asking the Supreme Court to overturn that decision. Should be interesting.
What interests me now is the letter the attorneys sent General Verrilli, asking for his support, and my question is simple: Should the attorneys have stated their thesis/agenda at the beginning of the letter or in the 4th and 5th paragraphs, second page of their three-page letter? Better yet, should they have stated their thesis/agenda in the same paragraph rather than in two separate paragraphs?
I would have stated my thesis/agenda at the beginning; otherwise, General Verrilli remains in the dark as to my intentions until the second page–and he would be in the dark, given that the letter leaves him there until the middle of the 4th paragraph on the second page. Until that point, he could very well be wondering what the purpose is of the history lesson laid out on the first page. A thesis/agenda at the beginning would resolve that problem and give meaning and punch to the first page.
What would you do?