- Los Angeles Times -
Former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft violated the rights of U.S. citizens in the fevered wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks by ordering arrests on material witness warrants when the government lacked probable cause, a federal appeals court said in a scathing opinion today.
In a ruling that said Ashcroft could be sued for prosecutorial abuses, a three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the former attorney general immunity from liability for his misuse of the material witness warrants in national security investigations.
Members of the panel, all appointees of Republican presidents, said that they found the detention policy that Ashcroft authorized "repugnant to the Constitution, and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history."
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