Justices Will Decide If Immigrant Can Sue Ashcroft

Pakistani man alleges abuse in post-9/11 roundup; top fed brass claims immunity
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2008 3:01 PM CDT
Former Attorney General John Ashcroft.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – The Supreme Court today agreed to hear an appeal from John Ashcroft, with the former attorney general insisting top government officials cannot be sued by immigrants who allege they were beaten and abused after 9/11. Lower courts have refused to dismiss a suit from a man who was held for 6 months before being deported to Pakistan—without being charged, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The original suit was also brought against FBI chief Robert Mueller and some of the jailers who held the petitioner. US law has traditionally protected the right to sue officials who violate constitutional rights, but administration lawyers maintain that cabinet-level officers shouldn’t be subject to such complaints.