Habeas Corpus and the War on Terror
Do you recall "For liberty and Justice for all"? Well it seems as if those six words no longer exist in present day America. As a Veteran of the Military, I swore to serve and protect those foreign and domestic. Like many active duty and veteran military, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment as a soldier knowing that I was fighting for a country where you had civil liberties. At the time it was truly the land of the free and the home of the brave. Unfortunately, those liberties, that most Americans take for granted and others flee to this country to obtain, was threatened on September 11, 2001. The nation suffered from a great deal of loss, pain, anger, and disbelief that was felt across the world. With emotions becoming more inflamed with thoughts of revenge, the American people wanted answers and even more importantly, they wanted to see immediate action against those that commented this act of terror against this great nation. In response, Former-President George W. Bush and his administration set out to capture those thought to be responsible for the terrorist attack. In addition, Former-President Bush and his administration went to great lengths to go beyond the reach of the judicial system which enforces the writ of Habeas Corpus. These actions have been highly debated all across the nation and even the world. Did the tragedy of September 11th, justify the actions of the Former-President? Was and is it fair that people were and are still locked away, stripped of their basic rights under the writ of Habeas Corpus? Is this “Great Nation” so powerful that the very laws that were put into place to protect now don’t apply? The following exams these questions and many more, including the writ of Habeas Corpus, legal debates regarding this topic, and the perspectives of Former-President Bush and his administration during the time immediately following the September 11th attack. Habeas Corpus original meaning can be best defined as a demand by the courts to which a government agency produces a prisoner and demonstrates that they have the proper grounds in which to hold them. It is the process by which Common Law countries ensure the second freedom mentioned in the U.S. Declaration of Independence-Liberty- and the right not to be imprisoned arbitrarily in its most fundamental form (MacMillan, K, 2010). Habeas Corpus was written into the first article of the constitution reading as such "The privilege of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it. No bill of attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."(Article 1, Section 9, U.S. Constitution). Furthermore, the Habeas Corpus in the U.S. Constitution guarantees us the people the right to require the government to justify detaining or imprisoning, the right no to be outlawed without fair trial, freedom from laws passed after fact. Ultimately, they protect us from the whim of those powers, and distinguish a government of laws from government of men. Habeas Corpus originated from Maga Carta or better known as the Bill of Rights in 1215. King John of England initiated long drawn out wars against both France and the Catholic Church's while increasing taxes amongst the people. Growing tired of King John's lack of leadership, concerned for the citizens they decided to come up with the Maga Carta which would limit the amount of power his Monarchy had. By means of fear and violence the Baron's forced the King to accept and acknowledge the agreement that would honor the constitutional rights, privilege, and the greater protection of the people. Upon signing it meant that it would be null and void forever (Harriger, K. J, 2011). Our founding Fathers were well aware of the Maga Carta, and its astonishing abilities to be something great especially James Madison who was the primary architect of the American Bill of Rights. Greatly influenced by the potential of the...
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