New York

Justices leery expanding right to sue top officials

The Supreme Court sounds leery of expanding the right to sue high-ranking officials in a case that dates to the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Just six justices heard arguments Wednesday in an appeal by former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other former top officials to shut down a lawsuit filed by Muslim men who were detained for months in a Brooklyn jail after the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

The detainees have several claims against Ashcroft, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, former immigration chief James Ziglar and the two men who ran the federal jail. Claims against the jail officials seemed to have the best chance of surviving Supreme Court review.

Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor are out of the case.