U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court to consider suits against US officials by immigrants detained after Sept. 11 attacks

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John Ashcroft

John Ashcroft. Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to decide whether former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other onetime government officials have immunity in suits by immigrants who say they were rounded up and illegally detained after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The court agreed to hear three consolidated cases brought by mostly Muslim immigrants who were in the country illegally when they were arrested for immigration violations, report Bloomberg News, the Washington Post, SCOTUSblog and the New York Times. The plaintiffs said they were held in harsh conditions and physically abused.

Only six justices will hear the case, the stories point out. Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan recused themselves. Sotomayor was formerly a judge on the New York-based 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, which reinstated the lawsuits last year. Kagan was the former U.S. solicitor general. The court is already short a justice following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

The full 2nd Circuit divided 6-6 on whether to rehear the case.

The issues include whether the government officials have immunity and whether pleading requirements were satisfied, according to SCOTUSblog.

The case is Ziglar v. Turkmen, consolidated with Ashcroft v. Turkmen and Hasty v. Turkmen.

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