The Hamdi v. Rumsfeld Case’s Ruling with Reasoning
As a U.S. citizen accused of being an “illegal enemy combatant, Yaser Eram Hamdi was captured in Afghanistan by the Afghan Northern Alliance in 2001. The U.S. government accused Hamdi was in Afghanistan fighting for the Taliban, while Hamdi, through his father, had claimed that he was merely there as a relief worker and was mistakenly captured. The Bush administration contended that Hamdi could be properly detained as an unlawful combatant because he was captured in arms against the U.S. The government used its detention authority to ensure that terrorists were no longer a threat while active combat operations continued and to ensure suspects could be fully interrogated. Hamdi’s father filed a habeas corpus petition in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, and the court ordered that a federal public defender be given access to Hamdi. Yet, the Fourth Circuit reversed the District Court’s orders by stating that the District Court had failed to give proper deference to the government’s “intelligence and security interests.”
The case was then sent back to the District Court, which denied the government’s motion to dismiss Hamdi’s petition. After a series of reviews, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to reverse the dismissal of a habeas corpus petition brought on behalf of Hamdi. The Supreme Court agreed on the premise of the government’s power to detain unlawful combatants, but it decided on the grounds that detainees who are U.S. citizens must have the ability to challenge their detention before an impartial judge.