ACLU to release full-page NYT ad criticizing White House for 9/11 trials

The American Civil Liberties Union is hammering the Obama administration this weekend for reversing its pledge to try 9/11 terror suspects in civilian courts.

In light of recent news that the president may instead try those five suspected terrorists before military commissions, the ACLU plans to release a full-page advertisement in The New York Times this Sunday, criticizing the White House for its change of heart.

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“If this stunning reversal comes to pass, President Obama will deal a death blow to his own Justice Department, not to mention American values," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the ACLU, in a separate statement released on Thursday.


Ultimately, the White House has not yet made official its intention to overrule Attorney General Eric HolderEric H. HolderRacial undercurrents inflame Uber fight over background checks Chaffetz seeks to hold Obama official in contempt over water rule Eric Holder goes to bat for Uber MORE's much-debated decision to try Khalid Shiekh Mohammed and the four other 9/11 suspects in a New York federal court.

However, sources close to the White House told The Washington Post earlier this week that a reversal is imminent, with an announcement likely within the next two weeks.

Still, that change in approach follows weeks of serious political backlash from lawmakers on both sides of the political spectrum.

Republicans, in particular, have excoriated the White House relentllessly for its decision to try those suspects in civilian forums, which they say should be reserved for common criminals. And New York Democrats and Republicans alike have expressed related concerns about the social and financial tolls those forthcoming trials would take on the entire region.

Consequently, the White House's decision to instead use military commissions is sure to enrage those on the political left. Many have long claimed the Obama administration is too willing to abandon its top agenda items to quiet political disapproval, and they are pointing to the 9/11 trials as yet another example of that.

The ACLU sounded a very similar alarm this week, accusing the White House in its statement on Thursday of a telling, damaging political "flip-flop."

“If the president flip-flops and retreats to the Bush military commissions, he will betray his campaign promise to restore the rule of law, demonstrate that his principles are up for grabs and lose all credibility with Americans who care about justice and the rule of law," Romero said.

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