Czar Obama

President Barack Obama’s claim to czarlike powers in a perpetual global war against international terrorism has been blunted by a judicial appointee of former President George W. Bush. Last week, in the case Fadi al Maqaleh, United States District Judge John D. Bates denied that President Obama could make suspected “enemy combatants” disappear into the Bagram Theater Internment Facility at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan without an opportunity for exoneration. (While President Obama has abandoned the term enemy combatant for Guantanamo Bay detainees, he has retained the label for detainees held elsewhere.)

Bates’ ruling is a welcome check on an emerging pattern of mightily expansive claims of executive authority by the new administration.