Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror

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Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror

Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror
Do you remember where you were on September 11, 2001? I was working as a Personal Care Provider in a Senior Home at Newport, NJ. Do you remember the feeling you felt when you saw the planes crashing on the Twin Towers in New York? I remember feeling powerless. I wanted to do something to help out the people trapped in those towers. It was a horrible feeling not to be able to help them. Right after that, President Bush declared the War on Terror and many of our troop members were sent overseas to defend our country and to try to catch those involved on this act of terror. Many people were detained and sent to Guantanamo bay. They were accused of being enemy combatants. Some of them were guilty, some of them were not. I personally do not care for those are guilty, guilty people should pay for what they do. People make choices and they are consequences for those choices. How about those who are innocents? How about those who were victims of this hatred towards those who really hurt our country and its citizens? Is it fair for them to be paying for something they didn’t do? If the people held in Guantanamo bay are not enemy combatants, would Habeas Corpus apply to them? If Habeas Corpus could be applied to them, how easy would be for them to be released? In this paper, I will be giving a brief history of the Habeas Corpus including its purpose and its application to the present; along with that, I will be discussing about the mode of proceedings at Guantanamo bay, how difficult it is for an innocent person to prove their innocence and how easy could be for any American citizens to be caught in the same situation without a trial.

Habeas Corpus means in Latin “you have a body”, it is a writ used to take a prisoner before the court to determine if the person’s imprisonment is lawful. In the United States, the federal courts can use the Habeas Corpus to determine if a person’s apprehension is valid. The writ of Habeas Corpus provides individuals with protection against arbitrary and wrongful imprisonment. Habeas Corpus has been viewed as the “great writ of liberty.” It truly is one of the most, if not the single most important part of the Constitution of which protects individual rights. Habeas Corpus originated to protect people from illegal detention. A person who had been detained could present a petition seeking a writ for the custodian to provide what was necessary to justify the legality of the detention. If the custodian failed to provide this the court could order the petitioner’s release. Nowadays, Habeas Corpus is used as a remedy after the conviction to federal or state prisoners that challenge the legality of the application of the federal laws that were used during the judicial processes which gave place to their detention. However, “Conservatives view habeas corpus as the vehicle that guilty people use to escape conviction and sentences and liberals see habeas corpus as an essential protection against individuals being held in violation of the Constitution and laws of the United States” (Chemerinsky, 1987). The role of the President of the United States as a commander in chief is to serve a military leader during invasions such as the invasion of Afghanistan 2001, invasion in Iraq in 1990 and 2003. The Congress has the power to declare war, but it is the President’s job to execute to carry out the war as the commander in chief. Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government can suspend the Habeas Corpus when public safety is required during times of rebellion or invasion. President Lincoln suspended the privilege on his own motion in the early Civil War period, but this met with such opposition that he sought and received congressional authorization. The sources of Habeas Corpus are found in the Constitution, in the statutory law, and in the case law. The Suspension...
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