Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court bowed out Friday of deciding whether the president has the power to imprison people in the U.S. indefinitely without a trial — avoiding a showdown the Obama administration did not want.
The court granted the administration’s request to dismiss the challenge to the president’s authority from suspected al-Qaida sleeper agent Ali al-Marri, who was detained by the military for 5 1/2 years without charges.
The court’s order also wipes off the books the federal appeals court ruling al-Marri was challenging, which had affirmed the president’s power to detain people in the United States without trial.
Al-Marri will be transferred to civilian custody as soon as next week to face criminal charges of providing material support for terrorism.
“We look forward to prosecuting this case in the criminal justice system and presenting the evidence for a jury to decide al-Marri’s guilt or innocence,” said Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd.