The Supreme Court has thrown out the bulk of a lawsuit from post-September 11 detainees who claimed they were unlawfully detained and abused in federal immigration custody in New York City.
A depleted bench of justices ruled, 4-2, that the suit could not go forward against three former high ranking Justice Department officials who were accused of setting illegal policies that led to the prolonged detention of hundreds of foreigners.
The court’s majority said a suit for money damages in such circumstances could not proceed without authorization from Congress.
The justices allowed the suit to continue against the warden at the Metropolitan Detention Center, but solely over allegations of direct physical and mental abuse, including slamming prisoners into walls and referring to them as terrorists.
The justices who took part in the ruling split along partisan lines, with Republican appointees ruling to limit the litigation and Democratic ones rejecting such limits.
Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch did not take part in the case.