The Writ of Habeas Corpus was written to protect those in detainment. Habeas Corpus has evolved over the years and has gained a slighted meaning, in my opinion. Habeas Corpus is “an ancient common law prerogative writ- a legal procedure to which you have an undeniable right.” – (Habeascorpus.net) it has evolved into different traditions and the meaning seems to be change depending upon the present situation. In this paper, I will explain what Habeas Corpus means in relationship to protect civil liberties, give examples of cases that were suspended of habeas corpus and the views of the justices and they interpret habeas corpus. I will also discuss my views and philosophy of habeas corpus. This will help me understand why all men aren’t created equal. The historic evolution of Habeas Corpus has taken many twists and turns over the years. The meaning changes as time changes or those in authority are being hypocrites.
“Habeas Corpus has since the earliest times been employee to compel the appearance of a person who is in custody to be brought before the court.” –habeascorpus.net. It was originally the favorite document of the King and his court. 100 years later, it has evolved into a document initialed by the person or someone with his best interest instead of the King and his courts. This is the English tradition of Habeas corpus. The American development of habeas corpus is based from the Constitution which states in article 1, Section 9, “the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in case of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it” that means unless there is a threat to public safety, it should not be suspended. What do we consider a threat to public safety? Why do the rules change when it applies to how a case is dealt with? People are being detained in Guantanamo Bay for years.
There has been no evidence found to imply their guilt. Why are Americans such hypocrites? The Combatant Status Review Tribunal, (CSRT) allows place for prisoners to challenge the government’s case against them. However, it is set up to ensure the detainees fail. “To show that CSRT cannot be relied upon for accurate findings, instead it can only be relied upon to ensure that detainees will remain detained.”- Foley The rigging of the rules impacts investigations. They could very well have the wrong man as a detainee while the guilty one goes free. Prisoners are coerced and tortured into admitting guilt so that the torture cease. Foley also stated “ A system designed to help the government win its cases can lead investigators to apply less rigor than they would need to win in a regular court system.” This is definitely a violation of their civil liberties. Civil liberties are our personal freedom. Freedom to do the things we like to do. The detainees have been stripped of their civil liberties. According to the constitution we are protected and have a right to a Writ of habeas corpus.
Its relationship to civil liberties seem contradicting in where detainees have been found innocent and they are still being imprisoned. Brian Foley stated “ The new justice system does not work to reduce the risk of terrorist attacks, which is presumably the purpose of Guantanamo and the “war on terrorism”, instead, it does just the opposite” The suspensions of Habeas Corpus throughout our history have been most hypocritical, in my opinion. In 1861 President Lincoln ordered the suspension after the American Civil war. It applied only to Maryland and the Midwestern States. He did this because of riots, militia actions and a threat of the border slave state of Maryland would secede from the union. On September 24, 1862, Lincoln issued a proclamation that would suspend habeas corpus throughout the states. “Abraham Lincoln was elected President at a time when the country was bitterly divided over the issue of extending slavery into the territories.
In the 1860 presidential election, Lincoln won only forty percent of the national popular vote. In ten southern States, he did not receive a single popular vote. Southerners perceived his elections as a threat to the right of slaveholders to take slaves into territories.” -Palomares John Merryman was arrested by Union Troops. When the Supreme Court Justice Judge demanded that the US military bring him before the court, Lincoln refused to accept the writ. At that point, Chief Justice Taney declared the suspension of habeas corpus unconstitutional. I wonder what Lincoln was hiding by suspending the writ? President George Bush suspended the writ of habeas corpus by signing into law the Military Commission Act of 2006. “The military commissions act grants the President of the Unite States unlimited authority in establishing and conducting military commissions to try persons held by the U.S. and considered to be unlawful enemy combatants in the global war on terrorism .
In addition, the act suspends the right of unlawful enemy combatants to present, or to have presented in their behalf, writs of habeas corpus. –habeascorpus.net Another example of a suspension of habeas corpus was a case of Ex Parte Dred Scott. He was a slave owned by a Physician. When the slave master died, it was promised to Dred Scott would be set free. Mr. Scott petitioned the courts for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. By the time it got to the U.S. Supreme court it was overturned. They determined that he was a slave, not a person according to the Constitution. This was extremely controversial. The wording of the Constitution prohibited him from being a freed slave. The word “slave was not considered to be “person”. “Responding to the attacks of 11 September 2001, the Bush administration launched its war against terrorism.
In the immediate wake of 9/11, the war enjoyed near unanimous support from both sides of the aisle and across citizenry. As the war continued, Administration employed terms such as “illegal combatant” and “enemy combatant” to buttress its campaign of arms with a campaign of words in which the world was put on notice that anyone who was not with the US was with the terrorist.” –(Niday, J) 2008. This put all Americans on high alert. It brought fear to many of us. We wanted everyone who looked to be of Arab descent out of our country. In conclusion, the Writ of Habeas Corpus was designed to give those a chance to speak their peace and prove their innocence. It is obvious that our President and Congress change the law as they see fit . This leads me to believe that we are in fear of terrorist attacking our country.
We will go to any means to ensure safety if it means overriding our Constitution. The Wirt of Habeas Corpus has evolved over the years. I do not believe there are ways to make it just, right or fair as we continue to live in fear. Niday stated “If under the law, all enemy combatants are seen as having the same nature then, under the law, all enemy combatants should receive the same treatment. The language in the Constitution and various treaties, however does make a distinction between citizen and alien. This tells me that no matter what we may think or believe about our U.S. Constitution protecting us, there are always loopholes the government can get through to change it where it applies to their liking.
http://www.habeascorpus.net D’Anza, J.,V. (2008, Aug 25). Commentary: A look at the ‘boumediene v. bush’ decision. Daily Record. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/345478611?accountid=32521
Foley, B. (2007). Guantanamo and beyond: Dangers of rigging the rules. Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, 97 (4), 1009-10069. Retrieved from ProQuest
Levin-Waldman. (2012). American national government. San Diego, CS: Bridgepoint Education Inc
Niday, J. (2008. The war against terror as war against the Constitution. Canadian Review of American Studies, 38(1), 101-117 Reteieved from Academic Search Premier (EBSCOhost)database