That sound you here is the courts tearing off some scotch-tape and putting the Constitution back together again.
The Bush administration cannot legally detain a U.S. resident it suspects of being an al-Qaida sleeper agent without charging him, a divided federal appeals court ruled Monday.
"To sanction such presidential authority to order the military to seize and indefinitely detain civilians, even if the President calls them 'enemy combatants,' would have disastrous consequences for the constitution and the country," the court panel said.
In the 2-1 decision, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel found that the federal Military Commissions Act doesn't strip Ali al-Marri, a legal U.S. resident, of his constitutional rights to challenge his accusers in court.
It ruled the government must allow al-Marri to be released from military detention.
He is currently the only U.S. resident held as an enemy combatant within the U.S.