Habeas corpus in the United States
To President Bush’s support for the law — the Military Commissions Act of 2006 — and its suspension of writs of habeas corpus, Jonathan Turley, professor of constitutional law at George Washington University stated, "What, really, a time of shame this is for the American system.
In 17th century England, the sovereignty’s ability to arrest and hold in prison anyone for any reason became a point of contention in Parliament. During the reign of King Charles in England, Parliament eventually succeeded in addressing the issue with the enactment of the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679. The Habeas Corpus Act was a procedural device that allowed the courts to review the facts, and determine whether or not the prisoner’s detention was lawful.
What are some real life examples of habeas corpus being used?
The one that comes to mind, without citing cases, was challenging the denial by the US of habeas corpus rights of enemy combatants held by the US at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court ruled that detainees were afforded the Constitutional protection of habeas.
What are some examples from U.S. history of the "suspension" of habeas corpus and their applicability to the present?
President Abraham Lincoln succeeded in having the writ of habeas corpus procedure suspended during the Civil War, allowing for the imprisonment of members of the military, prisoners of war, and suspected spies or traitors to be held for the duration of the war without trial. Confederate President Jefferson Davis also suspended habeas corpus in the Confederate States of America.
Provide examples from U.S. history of the suspension of habeas corpus and their applicability to the present.
The first of these examples of suspension occurred during the Civil War. In this case, President Lincoln suspended the writ (and then Congress did so later on) in response to the state of war that existed within the United States at the time. The other…
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Attested as an English legal borrowing by the 1460s, habeas corpus literally means in Latin “you shall have the body,” or person, in court, and a writ is a formal order under seal, issued in the name of a sovereign, government, court, or other competent authority. So, a writ of habeas corpus is a court order to bring a person who’s been detained to court to determine whether or not their detention is valid. It’s a failsafe to prevent the government from imprisoning people without cause.
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Habeas corpus is a very necessary element of a fair government that wishes to adhere to regulations that institute equality for its citizens. Without habeas corpus, the people’s ability to view its government as legitimate decreases—as legitimate governments are most often perceived to provide reason for the imprisonment of its citizens. Thus, the likelihood for chaos as a result of the people’s desire to uproot an illegitimate government is increased.
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By December 1862, Congress was able to vote on an official suspension of habeas corpus. This time, Congress prevailed by passing the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act, signed into law March 3, 1863. This piece of legislation gave the president the power to officially suspend habeas corpus without the direct consent of Congress*. Lincoln had achieved a great strategic victory in attempting to suppress the rebellion. The suspension of the writ of habeas corpus was eventually terminated in December 1865 by President Andrew Johnson.