District Court dismisses Hamdan case

by Derek Jinks

Judge Robertson dismissed Hamdan’s peititon for a writ of habeas corpus on the grounds that the Military Commissions Act strips the court of jurisdiction over his case. I can’t yet find the order online, but here is a taste:

“The Military Commissions Act and the briefs of the parties present three questions: (1) As a matter of statutory interpretation and construction, did Congress actually succeed in removing our statutory habeas jurisdiction over the detainee habeas cases? (2) If so, is the Military Commissions Act a constitutionally valid “suspension” of the writ of habeas corpus within the meaning of the Suspension Clause, U.S. Const. art. I § 9 cl. 2? (3) If not, and if a “constitutional” writ of habeas corpus survives the Military Commissions Act, does Hamdan have a right to seek such a writ? The answers to these questions are “yes” to number (1) and “no” to numbers (2) and (3).


Congress’s removal of jurisdiction from the federal courts was not a suspension of habeas corpus within the meaning of the Suspension Clause (or, to the extent that it was, it was plainly unconstitutional, in the absence of rebellion or invasion), but Hamdan’s statutory access to the writ is blocked by the jurisdiction-stripping language of the Military Commissions Act, and he has no constitutional entitlement to habeas corpus. Hamdan’s habeas petition must accordingly be dismissed for want of subject matter jurisdiction.”

More to come…I’m digesting the full order and will post my thoughts once I have.


4 Responses

  1. Thanks to How Appealing, the order is available here.

  2. Attention Comrades,

    Please visit http://ministryoflove.wordpress.com to learn about our creative protest of the Military Commissions Act.



  3. I have a different take on the issue of habeas corpus for non-citizens. I don’t find that the Constitution applies to alien enemy combatants, and you can find my evidence and arguments here. http://aurenkaplan.blogspot.com/

  4. Paust has a piece on this over at Jurist that considers the decision correct in part and sophistry in other parts. jurist.law.pitt.edu.


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