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Judge Van Graafeiland

PETITIONERS BROUGHT a request for habeas relief under the Indian Civil Rights Act in an attempt to prevent the enforcement of a local housing ordinance. Petitioners sought the only remedy available under the Act, a writ of habeas corpus, in an effort to prevent respondents from enforcing an allegedly unlawful housing ordinance of the Oneida Indian Nation of New York. The district court denied the request and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed. The instant court noted that petitioners’ complaint focused on the destruction of their homes, which can be described more aptly as an economic restraint, rather than a restraint on liberty, and as a general rule, federal habeas jurisdiction does not operate to remedy economic restraints. The court concluded that because the only mechanism for federal enforcement of rights under the Act is a federal habeas petition, and no detention has been established, the district court properly dismissed the claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

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