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Opinion: What they said: Judges’ ruling that Ashcroft violated rights after 9/11

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Once again a court has found that the Bush administration, in its efforts to protect the country after 9/11, acted in ways at odds with the Constitution.

As our colleague Carol J. Williams reports today, a federal court found that John Ashcroft, then-attorney general, violated the rights of U.S. citizens by ordering arrests on material witness warrants when the government lacked probable cause.

Williams writes that a three-judge panel called Ashcroft’s detention policy “repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history.”

The judges — all appointed by Republican presidents — found that Ashcroft could be sued for prosecutorial abuses.

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Follow this link to see the judges’ ruling in its entirety, along with a separate opinion partially concurring and partially dissenting.

Be warned, however, that the ruling is in pdf format, more than 90 pages long and, like most legal documents, not exactly breezy reading.

For those who like to skip ahead, some of the more passionate, even angry, language can be found on pages 56-58.

-- Steve Padilla

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