Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror
POL201 American National Government
Instructor Denise Greaves
April 7, 2013
Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror 2 The history of Habeas Corpus and the war on Terror
Habeas corpus is considered to be one of the most fundamental guarantees of personal liberty we have enjoyed as a country since the inception of our Constitution. However, questions have arisen regarding the proper use of habeas corpus and have been brought into focus in the past decade. In the years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, hundreds of people have been detained by the United States government as part of its war on terror. Most of these detainees face indefinite detention and have neither been charged with a crime nor afforded prisoner of war status. Habeas corpus serves to protect citizens against arbitrary arrest, torture, and extrajudicial killings and is a fundamental personal libers guaranteed by our Constitution and cannot be suspended based on that fact. In this paper I will be diving in to the history of Habeas Corpus and how it has evolved over the years. I will briefly explain the origination of the habeas corpus, the role it plays in U.S.A and what current action is being taken about it. I will be also looking in to the Bush administration and the way they dealt with habeas corpus. History
The history of Habeas Corpus is ancient. It appears to be predominately of Anglo-Saxon common law origin, although the precise origin of Habeas Corpus is uncertain. Its principle effect was achieved in the middle ages by use of similar laws, the sum of which helped to mold our current policies. Habeas Corpus has since the earliest times been employed to compel the appearance of a person who is in custody to be brought before a court. Habeas Corpus was generally unknown to the various law systems of Europe which are generally devolved from Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror 3 Roman law. European civil law systems tend to favor collective authority from the top down while the Anglo-Saxon common law tends to favor the individual. As a feature of common law, the right of Habeas Corpus reflects the age old contest between the individual and the state. Habeas Corpus empowers The original purpose of habeas corpus "was to bring people into court rather than out of imprisonment" and by the year 1230, the writ's utility for that purpose was a well-known aspect of English common law. Known as "the Great Writ," its codification into English law came by way of Parliament in the Habeas Corpus Act of 1641, created in response to the King of England's actions during what is now referred to as Darnell's Case. In Darnell, five English noblemen were thrown "into the castle's dungeon deep" for failure to support their country's dual wars against France and Spain. The men filed suit, requesting the King provide an explanation as to their imprisonment. King Charles refused, on review; the court upheld the monarchy's steadfast silence, stating that the law did not require the King to provide any justification for their detention. The public outcry against this decision was deafening, prompting Parliamentary action the following year. Parliament expanded habeas rights several years later with the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, additionally requiring "charges to be brought within a specific time period for anyone detained for criminal acts." By 1765, habeas corpus was firmly imbedded within the foundation of English law, as noted by William Blackstone, who described the Great Writ as "a second magna carta, a stable bulwark of our liberties." This fundamental English right...