AG Applauds Denial Of Certiorari in Closed Hearings Case

U.S. Department of Justice

For Immediate Release

(202) 514-2008
TDD (202) 514-1888

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Statement of Attorney General John Ashcroft on North Jersy Media Group v. Ashcroft:

"Since the September 11th attacks, the Department of Justice has used all legal tools available to disrupt and neutralize potential terrorist threats by removing dangerous individuals who have broken our nation's laws from the streets of our communities. Time and again, the Department has successfully defended legal challenges to the tools we have used and actions we have taken to protect the American people. The Supreme Court today refused to disturb a Third Circuit ruling that is an important victory in support of our work to secure the nation.

"The Third Circuit's decision recognized that open deportation hearings would reveal sensitive information about our ongoing terrorism investigation and aid terrorists targeting our nation and people. The Third Circuit wrote, 'Since the primary national policy must be self-preservation, it seems elementary that, to the extent that open deportation hearings might impair national security, that security is implicated...' Justice Department regulations dating from 1964 have expressly allowed select deportation hearings to be closed to protect public interest. This authority to close hearings is an important, constitutional tool in this time of war, when we face an unparalleled threat from covert and unknown foes spread across the globe."


Cite as AILA Doc. No. 03052943.