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Encyclopedia > Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

Supreme Court of the United States
Argued April 28, 2004
Decided June 28, 2004
Full case name: Yaser Esam Hamdi and Esam Fouad Hamdi as next friend of Yaser Esam Hamdi, Petitioners v. Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense, et al.
Citations: 542 U.S. 507; 124 S. Ct. 2633; 159 L. Ed. 2d 578; 2004 U.S. LEXIS 4761; 72 U.S.L.W. 4607; 2004 Fla. L. Weekly Fed. S 486
Prior history: Order for attorney access granted, E.D. Va., 5-29-02; reversed and remanded, 294 F.3d 598 (4th Cir. 2002); motion to dismiss denied, 243 F.Supp.2d 527 (E.D. Va. 2002); reversed and remanded, 316 F.3d 450 (4th Cir. 2003); rehearing denied, 337 F.3d 335 (4th Cir. 2003); cert. granted, 540 U.S. 1099 (2004)
Subsequent history: Remanded to district court, 378 F.3d 426 (4th Cir. 2004)
Holding
U.S. citizens designated as enemy combatants by the Executive Branch have a right to challenge their detainment under the Due Process Clause. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals vacated and remanded.
Court membership
Chief Justice: William Rehnquist
Associate Justices: John Paul Stevens, Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer
Case opinions
Plurality by: O'Connor
Joined by: Rehnquist, Kennedy, Breyer
Concurrence/dissent by: Souter
Joined by: Ginsburg
Dissent by: Scalia
Joined by: Stevens
Dissent by: Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. art. II; U.S. Const. amend. V; 18 U.S.C. § 4001; 115 Stat. 224 (Authorization for Use of Military Force)

Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004) was a U.S. Supreme Court decision reversing the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S. citizen being detained indefinitely as an "illegal enemy combatant". The Court recognized the power of the government to detain unlawful combatants, but ruled that detainees who are U.S. citizens must have the ability to challenge their detention before an impartial judge. Image File history File links Seal_of_the_United_States_Supreme_Court. ... The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States and is at the head of the judicial branch of the United States federal government. ... The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is one of two United States district courts serving the Commonwealth of Virginia. ... The Federal Reporter is a case law reporter in the United States that is published by West Publishing. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: District of Maryland Eastern District of North Carolina Middle District of North Carolina Western District of North Carolina District of South Carolina Eastern District of... The Federal Supplement is a case law reporter published by West Publishing in the United States that includes select opinions of the United States district courts. ... This law-related article does not cite its references or sources. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... Other facts and information OConnor is an avid golfer who scored a hole-in-one in 2000 at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Arizona. ... Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) has served as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993. ... Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Article Two of the United States Constitution Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... Amendment V (the Fifth Amendment) of the United States Constitution, which is part of the Bill of Rights, is related to legal procedure. ... The United States Code (U.S.C.) is a compilation and codification of the general and permanent federal law of the United States. ... Note: AUMF may refer to several authorizations granted by the United States Congress. ... // Case citation is the system used in common law countries such as the United States, England and Wales, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and India to uniquely identify the location of past court cases in special series of books called reporters or law reports. ... 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... In common law countries, habeas corpus (/heɪbiəs kɔɹpəs/), Latin for you [should] have the body, is the name of a legal instrument or writ by means of which detainees can seek release from unlawful imprisonment. ... Yaser Esam Hamdi was a U.S. citizen captured in Afghanistan while fighting U.S. forces with the Taliban in 2001. ... The term unlawful combatant (also unlawful enemy combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent) is a term used by the Bush administration to label certain persons as outside of the protection of the Geneva Conventions; those that have such protections are known as lawful combatants. ...

Contents

Background of the case

Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan by the Afghan Northern Alliance in 2001 and then turned over to U.S. military authorities during the U.S. invasion. The U.S. government alleged that Hamdi was there fighting for the Taliban, while Hamdi, through his father, has claimed that he was merely there as a relief worker and was mistakenly captured. The Northern Alliance is a term used by the western media, Taliban and Al Qaida to identify the military coalition of various Afghan groups fighting the Taliban. ... 2001: A Space Odyssey. ... Combatants al-Qaeda, Taliban Northern Alliance, United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, France, New Zealand, Italy, Germany Commanders Mohammed Omar Osama bin Laden Tommy Franks Mohammed Fahim Strength Casualties {{{notes}}} The United States invasion of Afghanistan occurred in October 2001, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on... Flag flown by the Taliban. ...


Hamdi was initially held at Guantanamo Bay, but then transferred to a naval brig in Norfolk, Virginia when it was discovered that he held U.S. (as well as Saudi) citizenship, and then finally to a brig in Charleston, South Carolina. The Bush administration claimed that because Hamdi was caught in arms against the U.S., he could be properly detained as an unlawful combatant, without any oversight of presidential decisionmaking, or without access to an attorney or the court system. The administration argued that this power was constitutional and necessary to effectively fight the War on Terror, unofficially declared by the United States after the September 11th terrorist attacks, to ensure that terrorists were no longer a threat and could be fully interrogated. Detainees upon arrival at Camp X-Ray, January 2002 Guantánamo Bay detainment camp, serving as a joint military prison and interrogation center under the leadership of Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO), has occupied a portion of the United States Navys base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba since 2002. ... Motto: Crescas (Latin for, Thou shalt grow. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq mi (110,862 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 7. ... Nickname: The Holy City, The Palmetto City, Chucktown Motto: Aedes Mores Juraque Curat (She cares for her temples, customs, and rights) Location of Charleston in South Carolina. ... George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the 43rd and current President of the United States, inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... The term unlawful combatant (also unlawful enemy combatant or unprivileged combatant/belligerent) is a term used by the Bush administration to label certain persons as outside of the protection of the Geneva Conventions; those that have such protections are known as lawful combatants. ... The war on terrorism or war on terror (abbreviated in U.S. policy circles as GWOT for Global War on Terror) is an effort by the governments of the United States and its principal allies to destroy groups deemed to be terrorist (primarily radical Islamist organizations such as al-Qaeda... The World Trade Center on fire The September 11, 2001 attacks were a series of coordinated terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2001. ...


In June of 2002, Hamdi's father, Esam Fouad Hamdi, filed a habeas petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The court ruled that Hamdi's father was a proper "next friend" having standing to sue on behalf of his son, and ordered that a federal public defender be given access to Hamdi. On appeal, the Fourth Circuit reversed the District Court's order, ruling that the District Court had failed to give proper deference to the government's "intelligence and security interests," and that it should proceed with a properly deferential investigation. The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia is a United States district court seated in the following locations in Virginia: Alexandria Newport News Norfolk Richmond The people are represented in this court by the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is a federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the district courts in the following districts: District of Maryland Eastern District of North Carolina Middle District of North Carolina Western District of North Carolina District of South Carolina Eastern District of...


The case was then sent back to the District Court, which denied the government's motion to dismiss Hamdi's petition. The court found the government's evidence offered in favor of his detention to be woefully inadequate, based mostly on hearsay and bare assertions. The District Court ordered the government to produce numerous documents for review by the judge in chambers that would enable it to perform a "meaningful judicial review," such as the statements by the Northern Alliance regarding Hamdi's capture, the dates and circumstances of his capture and interrogations, and a list of all the officials involved in the determination of his "unlawful combatant" status. Hearsay in its most general and oldest meaning is a term used in the law of evidence to describe an out of court statement offered to establish the facts asserted in that statement. ... The Northern Alliance is a term used by the western media, Taliban and Al Qaida to identify the military coalition of various Afghan groups fighting the Taliban. ...


The government appealed the order to produce the evidence, and the Fourth Circuit once again reversed the District Court. Because it was "undisputed that Hamdi was captured in a zone of active combat in a foreign theater of conflict," the Fourth Circuit stated that it was not proper for any court to hear a challenge of his status. It ruled that the broad warmaking powers delegated to the President under Article Two of the United States Constitution and the principle of separation of powers prohibited courts from interfering in this vital area of national security. After the Fourth Circuit denied a petition for rehearing, Hamdi's father appealed to the Supreme Court, which granted review and reversed the Fourth Circuit's ruling. Wikisource has original text related to this article: Article Two of the United States Constitution Article Two of the United States Constitution creates the executive branch of the government, comprising the President and other executive officers. ... The separation of powers (or trias politica, a term coined by French political enlightenment thinker Montesquieu) is a model for the governance of democratic states. ...


Hamdi was represented before the Court by Federal Public Defender Frank W. Dunham, Jr. and the Government's side was argued by the Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Paul Clement. Paul Clement Paul D. Clement is the Solicitor General of the United States. ...


The Court's opinions

Though no single opinion of the Court commanded a majority, eight of the nine justices of the Court agreed that the Executive Branch does not have the power to hold indefinitely a U.S. citizen without basic due process protections enforceable through judicial review. The government of the United States, established by the United States Constitution, is a federal republic of 50 states, a few territories and some protectorates. ... In United States law, adopted from English law, due process (more fully due process of law) is the principle that the government must normally respect all of a persons legal rights instead of just some or most of those legal rights when the government deprives a person of life...


Justice O'Connor wrote a plurality opinion representing the Court's judgment, which was joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist and Justices Breyer and Kennedy. O'Connor wrote that although Congress had expressly authorized the detention of unlawful combatants in its Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed after 9/11, due process required that Hamdi have a meaningful opportunity to challenge his detention. This required notice of the charges and an opportunity to be heard, though due to the burden upon the Executive of ongoing military conflict, normal procedural protections such as placing the burden of proof on the government or the ban on hearsay need not apply. O'Connor suggested the Department of Defense create fact-finding tribunals similar to the AR 190-8 to determine whether a detainee merited continued detention as an enemy combatant. The United States Department of Defense created Combatant Status Review Tribunals in response, modeling them after the AR 190-8. O'Connor did not write at length on Hamdi's right to an attorney, because by the time the Court rendered its decision, Hamdi had already been granted access to one. However, O'Connor did write that Hamdi "unquestionably has the right to access to counsel in connection with the proceedings on remand." The plurality held that judges need not be involved in reviewing these cases, rather only an impartial decision maker was required. Other facts and information OConnor is an avid golfer who scored a hole-in-one in 2000 at the Paradise Valley Country Club in Arizona. ... William Hubbs Rehnquist (October 1, 1924 – September 3, 2005) was an American lawyer, jurist, and a political figure, who served as an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States and later as the Chief Justice of the United States. ... Stephen Gerald Breyer (born August 15, 1938) is an American attorney, political figure, and jurist. ... For other people of the same name, see Anthony Kennedy (disambiguation). ... A sequential look at United Flight 175 crashing into the south tower of the World Trade Center The September 11, 2001 attacks (often referred to as 9/11—pronounced nine eleven or nine one one) consisted of a series of coordinated terrorist[1] suicide attacks upon the United States, predominantly... In the common law, burden of proof is the obligation to prove allegations which are presented in a legal action. ... Hearsay in its most general and oldest meaning is a term used in the law of evidence to describe an out of court statement offered to establish the facts asserted in that statement. ... The United States Department of Defense, abbreviated DoD or DOD and sometimes called the Defense Department, is a civilian Cabinet organization of the United States government. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards and make it easier to understand, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Justice David Souter, joined by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, concurred with the plurality's judgment that due process protections must be available for Hamdi to challenge his status and detention, providing a majority for that part of the ruling. However, they dissented from the plurality's ruling that AUMF established Congressional authorization for the detention of unlawful combatants. David Hackett Souter (born September 17, 1939) has been an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court since 1990. ... Ruth Joan Bader Ginsburg (born March 15, 1933) has served as an Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court since 1993. ...


Justice Antonin Scalia's dissent, joined by Justice John Paul Stevens, went the farthest in restricting the Executive power of detention. Scalia asserted that based on historical precedent, the government had only two options to detain Hamdi: either Congress must suspend the right to habeas corpus (a power provided for under the Constitution only in times of "invasion" or "rebellion"), which hadn't happened; or Hamdi must be tried under normal criminal law. Scalia wrote that the plurality, though well meaning, had no basis in law for trying to establish new procedures that would be applicable in a challenge to Hamdi's detention—it was only the job of the Court to declare it unconstitutional and order his release or proper arrest, rather than to invent an acceptable process for detention. Antonin Gregory Scalia (born March 11, 1936) is an American jurist and the second most senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ... John Paul Stevens (born April 20, 1920) is an American jurist, and the senior Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. ...


Justice Clarence Thomas was the only justice who sided entirely with the government and the Fourth Circuit's ruling, based on his view of the important security interests at stake and the President's broad war-making powers. Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ...


Effect on non-citizen detainees

Although by the terms used in the Court's holdings they were apparently limited to "citizen-detainees," the last paragraph of section III, D of the O'Connor plurality (four justices: O'Connor, Rehnquist, Kennedy, and Breyer) relies on the Geneva Convention and states that Habeas Corpus should be available to an "alleged enemy combatant." Based on that language and Court's holding in the case of Rasul v. Bush (issued on the same day as Hamdi, but limited solely to the holding that U.S. courts have jurisdiction to hear habeas corpus petitions filed by the Guantanamo detainees), the government conceded that some very limited due process rights allowing for hearings to determine the detainees' status as enemy combatants and the right to legal counsel would be extended to all of the Guantanamo detainees, citizen and non-citizen alike. The application of the Court's decisions in these cases is not inconsistent with the fact that the other two justices in the Hamdi majority, as well as two of the dissenting justices (Scalia and Stevens) were even more restrictive in their willingness to concede any of the detention powers requested by the government for Guantanamo detainees in the Hamdi case. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. Rasul v. ...


In regard to the detention of detainees without charge, in section I of the O'Connor plurality opinion the plurality relied on the time-honored traditions of war, the Geneva Convention, and a long list of other international treaties, to hold that the government had authority under the Authorization for Use of Military Force enacted by Congress in 2001 shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks to hold any enemy combatants until the cessation of hostilities (not indefinitely). The plurality held that such protective detention could be applied to both citizen and non-citizen enemy combatants. Of the four justices outside the plurality, Justices Ginsberg and Souter limited their opinions to their position that Section 4001(a) of Title 18 of the United States Code (the Non-Detention Act; enacted to prevent the sort of detention that occurred when the United States placed Japanese-American citizens in concentration camps during World War II) prevented the detention of U.S. citizens. Justice Scalia (whose opinion was joined by Justice Stevens), restricted his holding to citizen-detainees and implied that anyone held outside of United States' territory might be beyond the reach of the Court altogether. Again, the Rasul case did not directly address the detention issue, and any hearings would be limited to the determination of enemy combatant status. The Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public law 107-40) was a joint resolution passed by the United States Congress on September 18, 2001, authorizing the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the attacks on September 11, 2001. ...


In the subsequent case of Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court decided that the "military commissions" created to try enemy combatants for war crimes suffered from certain fatal procedural defects under the Uniform Code of Military Justice and the Geneva Convention and were without other legal authority to proceed, despite Congress' attempt to deprive the Court of jurisdiction to decide that issue by passing the Detainee Treatment Act. Justices in the majority (particularly Justices Kennedy and Breyer) disagreed with Justice Stevens as to whether the "charge" of conspiracy could be maintained to justify the determination of enemy combatant status. Although the Court struck down the military commissions as created by the Executive Branch, they did not provide the detainees with direct access to the federal courts, but only with access to a fair and impartial hearing to a tribunal constitutionally authorized by Congress and proceeding with certain due process guarantees (such as one operated under terms similar to those provided by Article II courts under the UCMJ or according to the terms of the Third Geneva Convention of 1949). Holding Military commission to try Plaintiff is illegal and lacking the protections required under the Geneva Conventions and United States Uniform Code of Military Justice. ... The Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is the foundation of military law in the United States. ... The McCain Detainee Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Senate Department of Defense Authorization bill, commonly referred to as the Amendment on (1) the Army Field Manual and (2) Cruel, Inhumane, Degrading Treatment, amendment #1977 and also known as the McCain Amendment 1977. ... Wikisource has original text related to this article: Third Geneva Convention The Third Geneva Convention (or GCIII) primarily regarded the treatment of prisoners of war (POWs), and also touched on other topics. ...


References

  • Supreme Court documents on Hamdi v. Rumsfeld
  • Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (03-6696) 542 U.S. 507 (2004): Opinion of O’Connor, J. at "Cornell University Law School" with links to the other judgements all available in HTML.

Cornell redirects here. ...

Supreme Court Cases

Holding Suspension of habeas corpus is unconstitutional when civilian courts are still operating; the Constitution only provided for suspension of habeas corpus if civilian courts are actually forced closed. ... Holding The Court upheld the jurisdiction of a United States military tribunal over the trial of several German saboteurs in the United States. ... Johnson v. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. Rasul v. ...

See also

Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932, Evanston, Illinois) is the 21st and current United States Secretary of Defense. ... NOTE: The following text may have been literally copied from http://www. ...

External links

  • The Center for Constitutional Rights section on Hamdi v. Rasul with detailed documents and insight
  • Full text of the Court's opinions in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld at findlaw.com
  • NPR audio on the decision
  • Findlaw "war on terror" section
  • The Supreme Court, the Detainees, and the "War on Terrorism" (Findlaw)
  • Hamdi v. Rumsfeld: U.S. Supreme Court Brief Resource Center, U.S. Supreme Court Amici Curiæ Briefs (Jenner and Block Law Firm)

 
 

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