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Habeas Corpus, Civil Liberties, And The War On Terror: A Walk Through History

4427 words - 18 pages

A Writ of Habeas Corpus as outlined in our book is that of a legal act that calls for an individual under seizure to be brought in front of a court of law for an inquiry to essentially decide if they are guilty or not of the suspected crime (Levin-Waldman, 2012). The Writ of Habeas Corpus explicitly brings up the right to contest one's arrest and imprisonment. It is also a way for the government to force an individual to come before the courts. By permitting an independent judge to analysis the legitimacy of the individual’s confinement and instruct that the detainee be freed if the circumstances are unlawful, habeas corpus functions as a safeguard against unlawful seizure, arrest, and ...view middle of the document...

d.) The Habeas Corpus Act of 1679 was not intended to be all including. This is demonstrated with the language used in the statute. The first line of the document states that it was, “An Act for the better securing the Liberty” (Raithby, 1819). After additional expansion in English law, Britain distributed habeas corpus to its settlements. This law voyaged over the Atlantic and to the New World, in which it became a significant segment of American legal practice as well. It was preserved in the Judiciary Act of 1789 as well as Article One of the United States Constitution (Wert, 2011)
By the commencement of the Revolutionary War, habeas corpus was solidified into the American Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, during the course of his presidency, spoke of the vital need of habeas corpus. In his initial inaugural address Jefferson said, “I know, short of disbelief, that certain men are in fear that a republican government cannot be resilient; that this government is not strong enough.” In addition, Jefferson said that “our nation was the world’s best hope” for the reason of our strong obligation to democracy, “the strongest government on earth” (Rutherford Institute, n.d.) Jefferson goes on to say that the “prominence of this fundamental belief was established in the sovereignty of being, under the fortification of habeas corpus. These main beliefs guide our footsteps through an era of revolution and restoration” (Rutherford Institute, n.d.). This sheds light on the importance of habeas corpus as viewed by our forefathers at the time when it was established.
There are numerous constitutional principal emphasized throughout habeas corpus, the foremost being checks and balances and that the accused are given fair and equal due process. Our forefathers recognized that governments come to be abusive, of the rights of citizens, when there is no authority to check that abuse. The use of habeas corpus is in fact one of the few constitutional rights enshrined in the main body of the Constitution instead of the amendments, and is established in each state constitution as well. Article I, Section 9, of the U.S. Constitution affords that the privilege of habeas corpus “shall not be suspended except in cases of rebellion or invasion, when the public safety may require it”. In some states, suspension of habeas corpus is forbidden in any case (David, 1995).
Even before habeas corpus was inscribed into the Constitution it generated dispute in the United States. Massachusetts suspended the privilege of habeas corpus from November 1786 to July 1787, on the occasion of Shays' Rebellion while the U.S. was still underneath the Articles of Confederation (Bouvier, J n.d.). Shays' Rebellion spawned a direct risk to the predominant securities of the time, which desired the national government to dictate policy to the states. George Washington sanctioned the usage of militia in opposition to the rebellion and authorized the suspension of habeas corpus (Zinn, 1995)....

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