The Right of Habeas Corpus and the War on Terror
September 11, 2001 changed the United States forever. This disastrous attack on the Pentagon and the twin towers at the World Trade Center destroyed the lives of thousands of people. Over 3,000 people were killed, including hundreds or firefighters and policemen, many of which were never found. The attackers were Islamic terrorists from Arab nations.
The war on terror declared by the Bush Administration, had become one of the most important issues in the United States during that time and still is today. However, it did not always protect those that needed to be protected. There was the detention of potential suspects who were held without the right to habeas corpus. There was also torture and illegal surveillance of those the government thought were potential suspects.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the right of habeas corpus in the context of the war on terror. It will give the meaning of habeas corpus and will state the article in the U. S. Constitution and its history. It will show the relationships between American and English traditions. This paper will also include examples of the suspension history of habeas corpus and their applicability to the present, and further analyze the relevance of habeas corpus to the contemporary U. S. situation during the war on terror and its relationship to persons characterized by as enemy combatants or illegal combatants.
Habeas Corpus: The Meaning and Historical Evolution
Habeas corpus, Latin for “you have the body,” is a writ (court order) that directs the law enforcement officials who have custody of a prisoner to appear in court with the prisoner to help the judge determine whether the prisoner is lawfully in jail. Habeas corpus is a protection against illegal confinement, such as holding a person without charges, when due process obviously has been denied (Hill, G., & Hill, K.). Habeas corpus is supposed to be guarantee of personal freedom of citizens in order to avoid unnecessary detention. They should have a right to judicial determination of why he is being detained.
By letting an independent judge review and determine the grounds upon which one is detained and even order for the release of the detainee if those grounds are found to be unlawful, habeas corpus the becomes the key protection against arbitrary detention or arrest, extra judicial killings and torture (Farell, 2010).
Habeas corpus dates back to the fourteenth century. It was originally part of England’s statutory law in 1679 (Federal Judicial Center). The U.S. Constitution was not explicit when including the writ. Adopted in 1787 and later ratified by the States, Article I, Section 9 of the U. S. Constitution states, “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it” (American Civil Liberties Union, 2007).
In the Judiciary Act of 1789, Congress...