Habeas Corpus and the War on Terror

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Habeas corpus is considered the “great writ of liberty” in both the English and American constitutional values. The writ allows individuals to challenge imprisonment as unlawful. There are many issues surrounding terrorism, civil liberties, and presidential power in regards to the ongoing debate about habeas corpus and the war on terror. Although civil rights should be protected and detainees should be dealt with on an individual basis by the Supreme Court, the President of the United States should have full authority to suspend the right of habeas corpus to those who are suspected of terrorism, especially during times that are declared as a “national emergency.” Derived from English common law, habeas corpus first appeared in the Magna Carta of 1215 and is considered the oldest human right in the history of English-speaking civilization. The doctrine of habeas corpus stems from the requirement that a government can either charge a person or must let him go free (Rutherford, 2013). The Habeas Corpus Act is a British Act of Parliament passed in 1679. This Act formalized the recognition of the right of an individual to be able to challenge imprisonment as unlawful. With passing the Act, British Parliament was ending the right of the monarchy to imprison a person without charges. After England passed the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, other nations, including the United States, incorporated habeas corpus into their founding documents and constitutions. In the U.S. Constitution, the right to challenge unlawful detention is listed specifically in Article I, section 9. According to an article published by Rutherford Institute, it has been stated that “The right of habeas corpus was important to the Framers of the Constitution because they knew from personal experience what it was like to be labeled enemy combatants, imprisoned indefinitely and not given the opportunity to
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