Lawfare readers, let my devotion to you never be questioned. To bring you this here summary of today’s oral argument in Mahktar Al-Warafi v. Barack Obama, I have had to engage in a mortification of the flesh. As the court was not sticking to schedule today, I had to sit through the entire, extended dance version of an oral argument in a very caricature of D.C. Circuit administrative law drudgery: An actual FERC case. Needless to say, my will to live was flagging by the time Roger A. Ford got up–finally–to argue for overturning Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth’s opinion denying habeas to his client. But I rallied–and tried to take decent notes.
Warafi is a very hard case–hard on both sides. I was absolutely convinced when either side talked that the other side would win. After the argument was over, I can genuinely say that I do not know which way this case will go, and I don’t envy the judges who have to decide it.