Citizen ‘Enemy Combatants’ Have Right To Due Process

2004

Petitioner Yaser Hamdi, a U.S. citizen whom the government has classified as an “enemy combatant” for allegedly fighting with the Taliban during the war in Afghanistan, is detained in a Navy brig. Hamdi’s father files a habeas petition on his behalf, arguing that his son is being held in violation of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The U.S. Supreme Court says that although Congress authorized the detention of combatants in the narrow circumstances alleged in this case, due process demands that a citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be allowed to contest the detention before a neutral party. The Court rejects the Bush administration’s contention that the executive branch has the last word on open-ended detentions for citizens and noncitizens.