The Supreme Court is considering the post-Sept. 11 arrest of an American Muslim under a law intended to make sure witnesses testify in criminal proceedings.
The Obama administration is defending John Ashcroft for actions he took as attorney general. A lawsuit seeks to hold Ashcroft financially responsible for creating a policy to use the material witness law to round up people suspected of ties to terrorism, without evidence to charge them with a crime. Argument at the high court is set for Wednesday morning.
Kansas-born Abdullah al-Kidd sued Ashcroft and others for his arrest and 16-day detention in 2003. Lower courts have backed al-Kidd.
The administration wants the justices to rule that the arrest was proper and, if not, that Ashcroft cannot be held personally liable.