Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

542 U.S. 507, 124 S. Ct. 2633 (2004)

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Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

United States Supreme Court
542 U.S. 507, 124 S. Ct. 2633 (2004)

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Facts

On September 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda terrorists attacked American targets. In response, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which authorized the president to use all necessary and appropriate force against persons suspected of engaging in or aiding terrorism. Yaser Hamdi (defendant), a US citizen, was seized by a military alliance in Afghanistan on suspicion of involvement with the Taliban, a group that supported Al-Qaeda. Hamdi was eventually turned over to the US military and taken into custody as an enemy combatant. The United States interrogated Hamdi in Afghanistan before transferring him to the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. After learning Hamdi was an American citizen, the military transferred him to a military detention facility in South Carolina. Hamdi was not charged with a crime, provided an attorney, or given an opportunity to contest his detention. Hamdi’s father filed a writ of habeas corpus against Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (defendant) on Hamdi’s behalf. The writ challenged Hamdi’s detention as violating the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments’ due-process requirements. The government moved to dismiss, arguing that because Hamdi was an enemy combatant, the government could hold him indefinitely. The government submitted a declaration from Michael Mobbs, a defense advisor, stating the government’s reasoning for deeming Hamdi an enemy combatant. The district court certified a question to the Fourth Circuit as to whether the Mobbs report alone was sufficient to detain Hamdi without trial. The Fourth Circuit held that the Mobbs report was sufficient to justify Hamdi’s detention. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (O’Connor, J.)

Concurrence/Dissent (Souter, J.)

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