Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Political Science

Advisor/Committee Chair

Victor Asal


In the wake of 9/11 the U.S. Government has passed a host of counter-terrorism laws that provide the Executive Branch and the President of the United States frightening levels of authority. The Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists of 2001 (AUMF) and the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) include provisions or have been interpreted to allow the President to indefinitely detain terrorism suspects in military custody without charge or trial. This includes the potential application of these laws to American citizens. This thesis will analyze these statutes and relevant jurisprudence on the subject of indefinite detainment for both Americans and non-Americans. Ultimately, the analysis will show that the President of the United States does not have the constitutional authority to indefinitely detain US citizens in military custody who are taken into custody in the domestic United States. Thus, the detention provisions of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act are unconstitutional and should either be repealed by Congress or struck down by the Supreme Court.