Hamad v. Gates

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 10-07-2013
  • Case #: 12-35395; 12-35489
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Ikuta for the Court; Circuit Judges Alarcòn and McKeown
  • Full Text Opinion

Under United States v. Boumediene, only 28 U.S.C. § 2241(e)(1) was ruled unconstitutional, § 2241(e)(2) functioned independently and was not a bill of attainder because there was no punitive intent.

Adel Hassan Hamad ("Hamad") was detained at Guantanamo Bay. On appeal was whether the district court had subject matter jurisdiction over Hamad’s claims under 28 U.S.C. § 2241(e). The district court held that it did have subject matter jurisdiction over Hamad's Fifth Amendment claim. Hamad argued that Boumediene struck down § 2241(e), including (e)(2). Hamad argued that even if only § 2241(e)(1) was struck down, it cannot be severed from § 2241(e)(2). Hamad argued that even if § 2241(e)(1), was not struck down, it was an unconstitutional bill of attainder because it deprived him of a federal forum to seek a remedy of the violation of his constitutional rights and strips a discrete class of individuals of access to courts. The Ninth Circuit held that United States v. Boumediene should be interpreted to mean that only § 2241(e)(1)’s deprivation of habeas corpus review for Guantanamo detainees was unconstitutional. Because of the presumption that enactments are seeable from the remainder of an act, and because § 2241(e)(2) can function independently of § 2241(e)(1) the panel rejected Hamad’s argument that § 2241(e)(1) and (e)(2) could not be separated. Hamad’s claim sought money damages, and the Constitution does not require the availability of this remedy. Thus, the panel declined to address the issue of whether Congress can deny a plaintiff access to a federal forum to remedy violations of Constitutional rights. In regards to § 2241(e)’s status as an unconstitutional bill of attainder, the panel disagreed with Hamad’s arguments. Applying the principle that a statute must show clear evidence of punitive intent, and inflict a legislative punishment without furthering nonpunitive legislative purposes, the panel concluded that § 2241(e)(2) was not a bill of attainder. The panel concluded that there had not been a violation of the equal protection component of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. VACATED AND REMANDED.

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