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Habeas Corpus And The War On Terror

1262 words - 6 pages

According to the United States Constitution, the writ of habeas corpus which is Latin for "you have the body" means that a prisoner has the right to question their imprisonment and if the government cannot show reason for why the prisoner is being held, they must be released immediately. The value of habeas corpus ensures that a prisoner can be released from an unlawful detention, detention that is lacking sufficient evidence or reason. The remedy can be pursued by the prisoner or by a person speaking for the prisoner. The Constitution allows either the prisoner or a representative for the prisoner to petition the court for a writ. Habeas corpus is maybe one of the most crucial forms of ...view middle of the document...

It was a question among many of those constituents as to who actually hold the power to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus, the President or Congress.
On May 25th 1861, a prime example of the Writ of Habeas Corpus was set in motion when John Merryman was arrested by federal troops in Cockeysville Maryland for supposedly recruiting, training, as well as leading drill companies for the Confederate corps. The attorneys of Merryman had petitioned the Chief Justice, Roger B. Taney for a writ of habeas corpus that ordered General George Cadwallader to present in court, with his prisoner to explain his reason for detainment. The general refused and on May 28th, Chief Justice Taney ruled that the president did not have the power to suspend habeas corpus. The days ahead Taney issued and opinion in support of his ruling and that only Congress could actually suspend the writ of Habeas Corpus. But Article II of the Constitution established executive power. Immediately following attacks on Pearl Harbor, whereas this was another instance among other land marks eras where the Writ of habeas Corpus was suspended and martial law was imposed. Another mark in time for the writ suspension was in 1942 where eight German saboteurs that also included two U.S. citizens were convicted by a military court that was selected by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This fell in line for suspension of the writ because of the crime and the damage to public safety and national security that developed because of it. Habeas corpus has always been understood to exist in order to provide a tool by which to determine the legal merit and “right” of a government to detain a person. In February of 2013 it will be eleven years will have gone by since the first petition to exercise habeas corpus, on behalf of our prisoners of war (so to speak) at Guantanamo Bay, was made. During all of these eleven years, there have been no hearings or legal action taken, on behalf of any of the persons being detained there. It has not been proven or disproven that we are detaining them legally or illegally. It has simply been overlooked and pushed aside. There has been no evidence examined, no lawyers taking depositions, no trial discovery being prepared. Nothing. These detainees, have virtually been in a state of limbo since being sent to Guantanamo. As of 2006, with the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA), which is intended to remove the federal jurisdiction from the habeas claims, the chances that any of these detainees will get their actual day in court seems like it may never, ever happen.
The act that the terrorists carried out on our own soil on September 11, 2001, had a great emotional impact on our nation and...

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