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Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror - Essay Example

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Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror [Name of Students] [Name of Institution] Introduction Habeas corpus is perhaps the basis of the legal system for most United States citizens as it provides the citizens with the key constitutional check on random powers of the government and its agencies…
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Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror
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Download file to see previous pages 67). In fact, habeas corpus has proved to be much of a political tool as it is a tool of the law. Generally, habeas corpus is the all-important right the constitution gives to people in the USA; a judicial authorization for prisoners to appear before a court of law for the determination of the legality of their detention by the government. (Doyle, 2006, P. 26) In other terms, such detainees or their representative have the right to petition the court for such summon. Though there are instances when the constitution allows for the suspension of habeas corpus, certain unlawful suspensions have been recorded in the history of the US. A case in which habeas corpus may be constitutionally suspended is during a rebellion or an invasion of public security/safety. Illustrations of the instances in which habeas corpus was suspended include during the fight against the Ku Klux Klan in parts of South Carolina, and during the War on Terror. Current studies on habeas corpus have shifted from the traditional judicial view of habeas corpus to the more recent political view of the subject. In fact, these political views and studies on habeas corpus emphasize the role and effects of the president, the congress, political parties, federal/state governments, legal academics, and interest groups (Fisher, 2003, P. 119). These politically oriented studies, for example, have looked into how political parties and the congress have used and suspended the habeas corpus to establish and enforce their opinions on constitutional governance and to undo the legacies of predecessor congresses and governments. This paper explores the habeas corpus with regards to its meaning, history, and applicability in the war on terror, in the Supreme Court, by the Congress, by the president, its use to protect civil liberties, and its suspension since historical times. The Meaning and the Historical Evolution of Habeas Corpus As mentioned earlier, writ of habeas corpus refers to a legally implementable order by a court of law to a law enforcement or prison official demanding that a detainee be presented before the court for the determination of the lawfulness of the detention/imprisonment (Irons, 1999, P. 13). Habeas corpus thus helps in determining whether a detainee or a prisoner should continue to be detained or imprisoned. The petition must however prove that the detention in question has a legal or factual fault. The right of habeas corpus is thus a constitutional right bestowed on an individual who must show evidences of a wrongful imprisonment in a court of law. Initially, there was a wrong notion that habeas corpus has its origin in the 17th century Magna Charter, which declared that no free man should be imprisoned or have his freedom, liberties, customs banned, exiled, shattered, or shortened without lawful judgment according to the laws of the land or by the judgment of his/her peers (Irons, 1999, P. 19). The origin of habeas corpus in the 17th century has however been disputed by historians who opine that habeas corpus was first recorded in 1305 during the reign of King Edward I of England. In fact, other sources state that habeas corpus first appeared in the 12th century and were issued by King Henry II. The basis of these earlier writs was that the King would be held responsible for any suspension or restraining of citizen’s liberties. The King was also responsible for deciding when such ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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