Resource: Ziglar v. Abbasi

By: Oyez Project

June 19, 2017

The respondents in this case are a group of male, non-U.S. citizens, most of whom are Muslim of Middle Eastern origin who were detained after the September 11, 2001 attacks and treated as “of interest” in the government’s investigation of these events. In their original claims, the plaintiffs alleged that they were detained without notice of the charges against them or information about how they were determined to be “of interest,” that their access to counsel and the courts was interfered with, and that they were subjected to excessively harsh treatment during their detention. They also asserted that their race, ethnicity, and national origin played a determinative role in the decision to detain them. The plaintiffs sued a number of government officials and argued that the government used their status as non-citizens to detain them when the government’s real purpose was to investigate whether they were terrorists and that the conditions of their confinement violated their Constitutional rights to due process and equal protection. After a series of motions to dismiss, the district court dismissed the claims regarding the length of confinement but allowed the Constitutional claims to proceed. Both the plaintiffs and defendants appealed various aspects of that ruling.