All I can say is that Judge Forrest's definition of "strikingly different" in the NY district court ruling is, well, "strikingly different" than most people's. I am also puzzled at the standing question. Regardless of what you think of the relatively minor addition of the phase "laws of war" in the NDAA, the section in question clearly states it only applies to "covered persons", which is explicitly defined as:
(b) COVERED PERSONS. -- A covered person under this section is any person as follows:(1) A person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September11, 2001, or harbored those responsible for those attacks.
Unless the plaintiffs are claiming that they fall into that category, I'm not sure how they can claim standing to sue over the change in the law that only applies to people in that category.
Even beyond that, the ruling itself is a mess of unconnected bits. Haven't read the whole thing, but I haven't been able to find a coherent reason behind the ruling at all. I guess you could point to it as a broad question about government power with regard to military action, national defense, etc. But that's not new. The ruling seems to rest on the somewhat absurd idea that our government can't take any national defense action unless there's an explicitly written law that has a complete list of every action it may take and every situation under which it may take it. The unfortunate reality is that there must be some degree of vagueness in our national defense rules, else it ceases to be effective against any situation which we have not predicted and written an authorization for. And while such vagueness absolutely has resulted in abuses in the past (and certainly will in the future), it's a necessary evil. Keep an eye on it, call foul when abuses happen, but don't try to over regulate the whole thing IMO. Edited, Oct 9th 2012 2:17pm by gbaji