Civil Liberties, Habeus Corpus and the War on Terror

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Habeas corpus, Boumediene v. Bush Pages: 6 (2236 words) Published: July 22, 2013
The War on One’s Individual Liberty and Freedoms
Nadira R. Brown
POL 201
Professor Dovie Dawson
April 15, 2013

The War on One’s Individual Liberty and Freedoms
Have you ever felt like a piece of cheese on a mouse trap just waiting for that mouse to come by and eat you; maybe even a fly stuck in a spider’s web hoping that you can get away? Well I am sure if I had been one of those people in the mist of the chaos on September 11, 2001 that had changed the life of all Americans’ across the country. I would have felt no bigger than that piece of cheese or that fly caught in the web. We were victims of a horrific terrorist attack that shook the very core of our foundation as a country. Twelve years later we are still recovering from this horrendous act. We have been fighting the war on terror for ten years. This is one of the longest wars that the United States has ever fought. While the war rages on the boundaries between national security and civil liberties are blurred. “The big threat to America is the way we react to terrorism by throwing away what everybody values about our country—a commitment to human rights” (Kennedy, 2007). Individual liberties and freedoms are important since without them one can be held indefinitely. Habeas corpus does not infringe upon a person’s civil liberties. In addition, habeas corpus allows an individual to question why they are being detained and ensures that detainees have a right to a fair trial; it is considered to be one of the foundations of constitutional democracy.

First, individual liberties and freedoms are important since without them one can be held indefinitely. Habeas corpus also known as the “great writ of liberty” guarantees that a person who is being held unjustly can go free (Habeas corpus, 2011). This is one of the reasons that make America so great because anyone who is detained can know the reason why they are being held and in so are allowed due process under the law. The Constitution protects the right of Habeas corpus. The Constitution states “those taken into custody have the right to plead their innocence before a judge” (Savage, 2007). This insures that individuals are treated with fairness by standing in front of a judge and finding out what crimes they are accused of. The writ of habeas corpus can be filed by the victim or another party that speaks on behalf of the victim.

Second, habeas corpus does not infringe upon a person’s civil liberties. The English traditions of habeas corpus make sure that it does not. The English had incorporated the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. This law was created due to the fact that many English people where being detained without legal authority, tension from the public made the English government adopt this act, which became one of the reasons that it was implemented by the framer’s and written into the U.S. Constitution. The English constitution as embodied in the common law had, striven to protect the fundamental rights of Englishmen and women, which included the right to personal liberty. The common law had supplied the writ of habeas corpus, that no freeman be imprisoned save by the judgment of a jury of his peers (Lobban & Halliday, 2011, para. 1). American traditions in regards to habeas corpus follow the same steps as the English to make sure that all persons’ civil liberties are not violated. When the framers included habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution it set in stone that all people no matter who you are or where you are if it is in conjunction with the U.S. and its territories then you are entitled to the protection of habeas corpus. Third, habeas corpus allows an individual to question why they are being detained. In normal circumstances this is the case. However, in American history habeas corpus has been suspended due to war, rebellion, and civil unrest. “The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, it says, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may...


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