POL201_ Assignment WK5
POL201_ Assignment WK5
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Date Created: 11/06/15
Running Head: HISTORY 1 History of Habeas Corpus Jennifer Robinson POL 201 – American National Government Instructor: Jennifer Stephens August 19, 2013 HISTORY 2 Abstract In this paper I will be unfolding the vast history of Habeas Corpus and how it has evolved through the years just as our country has. I will briefly explain the origins of the habeas corpus, the role it plays in our country and what significant actions have been taken that call for habeas corpus to be brought forth. I will examine the role of habeas corpus and its suspension in two very different presidential eras. By examining habeas corpus through the suspensions made by President Lincoln and President Bush I have learned and understand why maintain and upholding the core values of habeas corpus is so important. HISTORY 3 History of Habeas Corpus We live in one of the greatest nation in the world where we are free to do as we please as long as it is legal. Even if we commit a crime, we are still entitled to seek council and go before a judge and jury to plead our case. Our legal system was designed to allow all people their day in court no matter their crime they still have a right to plead their case. This legal act is known as Habeas Corpus which means, “you have the body” in Latin. Habeas Corpus is a form of language between a judge and the keeper of the prisoner that is basically saying: you have a prisoner bring the person to me so we can make a determination as to if, the prisoner is being held legally. “Article I, Section 9 of the 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" (LevinWaldman, 2012, Sec 8.2). In countries that do not have a law such as habeas Corpus prisoners never see a judge or jury and a put away for crimes they may not have committed. Habeas Corpus has been a part of our history for over 200 hundred years, and allowed prisoners the opportunity to have their trial examined by the highest court in the land in order to prevent unlawful imprisonment. By examining the two historical suspensions of habeas corpus by United States presidents, we will see how the suspension of habeas corpus without constitutional grounds violates civil liberties outlined in the constitution. "Throughout its history, the central purpose of habeas corpus has been to provide the means by which the judge might find the place at which liberty and physical security could be protected simultaneously by ensuring that subjects were imprisoned only according to law" (Halliday, 2010). Habeas Corpus can be traced back to the Magna Carta signed by King John in HISTORY 4 1215. By 1230 habeas corpus had become one of the better known aspects of English Law. One of the first uses of the great writ came in 1641 from an act of Parliament as a result of the King History of Habeas Corpus of England’s action against five English noblemen who were cast into a dungeon for failing to support wars waged against France and Spain, which became known as the Darnell’s Case. The men asked the King to explain why they were imprisoned and King Charles refused to respond, the court sided with the King and stated that the law did not require the King to justify the sentencing. After public outcry Parliament took action and put into place the Habeas Corpus Act. “During the outbreak of war with France in 1793 and continuing until its end in 1815, Parliament passed a string of statutes that suspended habeas corpus, broadened the definitions of treason and seditious libel, and outlawed many kinds of public assembly and political association” (Farrell & Rohde, 2010). Our nation's founding fathers keep the key elements of habeas corpus and included them into the constitution. It is the right of all whether they are a citizen of this country to receive a trail and to be detained in way that does not impose on those person civil liberties. Take into consideration when President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus. In 1861 John Merryman was arrested for trying to stop Union troops from moving from Baltimore to Washington during the Civil War and was taken to Fort Mchery by military officials. His attorney sought the writ of habeas corpus so the charges could be examined but President Lincoln suspended the right so Merryman remained I the custody of the military officials. Chief justice Roger Taney of the Supreme Court ruled that the president did not have the right to suspend the writ and declared the suspension unconstitutional. Lincoln ignored the justices ruling, On Sept. 24, 1862; President Lincoln issued a proclamation suspending the right to writs HISTORY 5 of habeas corpus nationwide. "Now, therefore, be it ordered, first, that during the existing insurrection and as a necessary measure for suppressing the same, all Rebels and Insurgents, their aiders and abettors within the United States, and all persons discouraging volunteer History of Habeas Corpus enlistments, resisting militia drafts, or guilty of any disloyal practice, affording aid and comfort to Rebels against the authority of the United States, shall be subject to martial law and liable to trial and punishment by Courts Martial or Military Commission: Second. That the Writ of Habeas Corpus is suspended in respect to all persons arrested, or who are now, or hereafter during the rebellion shall be, imprisoned in any fort, camp, arsenal, military prison, or other place of confinement by any military authority of by the sentence of any Court Martial or Military Commission." In 1866, after the end of the Civil War, the Supreme Court officially restored habeas corpus throughout the nation and declared military trials illegal in areas where civilian courts were again able to function” (Longley, 2011). Five years later in an unrelated case the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress could suspend habeas corpus and that civilians could not be trialed in a military court. There have been other instances like this one in our nation's history but another notable case is after the 9/11 attacks, President Bush tried to suspend habeas by ordering a military styled detention called the Treatment and Trial of Certain Noncitizens in the War against Terrorism or counterterrorism. He gave the right to detain individuals that were suspected of having links to terrorism as unlawful enemy combatants. In violation of international and Constitutional law, he stated that these detainees could be held forever without legal counsel, without knowing what they were accused of doing, and without ever seeing the inside of a courtroom. Over the course HISTORY 6 of a few years, the Bush administration held more than 700 prisoners at a detention camp in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, while in courtrooms the arguments over the legality of these detentions started to heat up. Being that “counterterrorism can be construed to mean almost anything this is one reason that it is so threatening to civil liberties (Anderson, History of Habeas Corpus 2006)”. In the case of Boumediene v. Bush, the Supreme Court ruled that those held at Guantanamo Bay have the right of habeas corpus and can bring such claims in U.S. federal court. After examining the two historical suspensions of habeas corpus by United States presidents, I get a better understanding of how the suspension of habeas corpus without constitutional grounds violate civil liberties that are outlined in the constitution. In both of these cases the Supreme Court has played a significant part in insuring that civil liberties are being upheld. There are not any clear cut rules for the president's war powers so what usually happens is “courts often look for signs that Congress has supported of opposed the presidents’ actions and rest their decision on statutory grounds” (Bradley, 2007). I believe that in the war on terror, the president should have the power to do what is necessary to protect our country however; it should be done in a manner that will uphold the standards of our nation's constitution. HISTORY 7 References Anderson, K. (2006, October/November). Law and terror. Policy Review, (139), 324. Retrieved from ProQuest (Search All) database. Bradley, C. (2010). Clear statement rules and executive war powers. Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy, 33(1), 1439148. Retrieved from ProQuest (Search All) database. Farrell, S., Rohde, S. F., (2010) The Origins of Habeas Corpus. Halliday, P. D., (2010). HABEAS CORPUS: From England to Empire The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge and London LevinWaldman, O. (2012). American Government. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUPOL201.12.1 Longley, R., (2011). Bush and Lincoln both Suspended Habeas Corpus. Retrieved from usgovinfo.com
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