The Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit brought by a former University of Idaho student who was held in jail for 16 days by the federal government as a so-called "material witness" in a terror investigation.
Lavoni Kidd was a football player for the U of I when he converted to Islam, changing his name to Abdullah al-Kidd. He began volunteering at an Islamic charity led by a person being investigated for possible terrorism ties. In 2003, al-Kidd was pulled from a plane headed for Saudi Arabia and held in prisons in Virginia, Oklahoma and Idaho. He was released after surrendering his passport and agreeing to restricted travel conditions.
In a lawsuit, al-Kidd held Bush administration officials personally liable for what he called wrongful arrest and detention. Represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, his lawyers said the government had "warped the law" to allow open-ended arrests and confinement.
But in a unanimous vote, the Supreme Court said al-Kidd could not hold Bush officials, and in particular former Attorney General John Ashcroft, liable.
In the opinion, Justice Antonin Saclia wrote, "The constitutional question in this case falls far short of that threshold."
al-Kidd currently teaches English to college students in Saudi Arabia. He still has claims pending against the FBI.