Summary (facts) of case: Hamdi v. Rumsfeld was case brought to the United States which began in April 28, 2004. Hamdi was born in 1980. Originally residing in Louisiana where he was born, making him a United States citizen, he later moved with his family to Saudi Arabia. At the age of twenty Hamdi traveled for his first time to Afghanistan where he was working. Hamdi was later caught by the Afghan group “Northern Alliance” and was handed to the U.S. Hamdi was sent to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba because the United States thought that Yaser Esam Hamdi was part of a terrorist group also viewed as “an enemy combatant”. After the U.S government found out that Yaser was actually an American citizen they transferred him to an American prison in Charleston South Carolina where Yaser was kept in solitary confinement where he had no right to attorney even though he was a United States citizen because again he was seen as an “enemy combatant” and he had no right to an attorney. Yaser’s father believed other wise. In June 2002 Yaser’s father came up with a petition for a “writ of Habeas corpus” that said “Yasers detention violated the Due Process Clauses of the fifth amendment” which meant that the government was not allowed to take away a persons rights without following the law to do it. However the case did manage to go to the supreme court.
Legal Issue/ Legal question: The Legal Issue is Due Process. According to the Habeas “litigation” the questions were can the United States hold American citizens as enemy combatants without charging them with a crime, and without the due process clause? The other question was If a detainee tries to go against his enemy combatant status, what rights does he have to go against it?
Majority Opinion: Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, Stephen Breyer, Anthony Kennedy and chief justice William Rehnquist took part in the majority vote. The court had decided that the “executive branch” did not have the right to hold Yaser without the due process clause because Yaser is a United States citizen. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the majority opinion along with justices Stephen Breyer , Anthony Kennedy and chief justice William Rehnquist wrote that they understood that enemy combatants should be detained at all costs because of the (AUFM) Authorization For Use Of Military Force that was passed after the incidents that took place in September 11. This allows for the president to use all the power that he is authorized to use to punish those that took part in the September 11 event. Being born in the United States allowed Yaser to have his natural rights. Due process allows for Hamdi to go against his charge of being an enemy combatant. Justice O’Connor also wrote that ” Unquestionably has the right to a fair trial in connections to the proceedings in remand”.
Concurrence: Justice David Souter and justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg both agreed with the majorities opinion that he should be allowed to the Due Process protection so he can fight his charges. Justice Antonio Scalia and justice John Paul Stevens also completely went against the executive power of detention. That if congress were to trial Yaser it should be under the normal criminal law.
Dissent: The only justice that disagreed with the majority opinion was justice Clarence Thomas. He believed that Yaser was a combatant and that the executive powers should be the one to deal with him. Not the judiciary. Justice Scalia and Stevens also believed that the court should not interfere with what other branches have to deal with. There for this should be strictly the executive powers case and the Judiciary should not be involved in this case. Discussion: The majority rule was correct in almost everything that they mentioned . Yaser Hamdi was an American born citizen and the fact that he had his rights taken away was absurd. After being captive for a couple years and being sent from prison to prison affected Yaser and his family. Yaser did not do anything in particular but he was in fact in the wrong place at the wrong time. For an American to be detained by his natural born country with no evidence is truly disturbing. The United
States made a constitution that does protect you and your rights as a citizen from the governmental powers unless of course you break them. Similar to the case Bowers vs. Hardwick where they did not allow due process to two Homosexual men for having sex. What people do is their business and the United States should not control the choices that people make unless they are causing harm to someone else. Their choices should not deprive them of their rights. The only people that should have their rights taking away is people who break the law such as rapist, serial killers and people who try to harm others . Evidence should also show that the person is guilty for their rights to be revoked. No matter what the situation is they are all American citizens and if they do break the laws according to the constitution you still have the right to fight back against it. So why try to take away these rights from an American citizen? because they believe he is an enemy combatant without actually having evidence that he was one? The executive powers made some very bad decisions on this case. The pain Yaser felt after being locked up for almost two years was Similar to the feeling of being wrongfully convicted which Is a horrible feeling. A lot of people felt that this was the president’s job to handle this situation, but making laws that are unjust is not going to solve anything. Every American citizen has the right to due process even if they were an ” enemy combatant”. If they didn’t then why would this clause be made up in the first place. The country was still panicking about nine eleven and felt the need to make unconstitutional rules. Yaser was not charged but had to renounce his citizenship and also had travel restrictions which was unfair. At the end of the day he was not charged for being an enemy combatant, so I do not understand why his citizenship would get revoked. Congress felt that they had to punish him one way or another for their own satisfaction. The United States did what they did because they were in the middle of war against terror. But the United States should not have forgotten about there peoples rights even if they are at war. The constitution was written for them to know their place and where they stand as our government and fear should not take those rights away from us. Overall I disagree with how the case settled, even though the majority had some good points the out come was still unfair. Yaser did not deserve to get citizenship taken away.
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