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Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties

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Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties
Rick Green
POL 201
Professor Hass
January 21, 2013

Habeas Corpus and Civil Liberties Imagine living life without the rights and liberties that Americans have always enjoyed. There are people all over the world that do not enjoy those rights that were cherished by the Framers of the United States Constitution. Some even say there are people under the jurisdiction of the United States that do not enjoy those rights. The War on Terror has brought a new debate to the forefront of American public discussion; what do we do with detained terrorists? Can the United States prove that they are terrorists? Are detainees afforded the same rights as American citizens and what role does the writ of habeas corpus play? The Supreme Court has decided on a few cases and has answered a few questions, but the debate still rages. Under the precedent set by Ex Parte Quirin and the Military Commissions Act of 2006, combatants captured in the War on Terror are unlawful combatants against the United States and therefore do not have the right of habeas corpus. To begin the argument on how habeas corpus and civil liberties relates to the War on Terror, we must first look at the history and the meaning of habeas corpus. Very simply defined, many people view the writ of habeas corpus, “as the ‘writ of liberty’ which ensured that no person could be detained in prison without being put to trial by a jury of his peers,” (Lobban & Paul, 2010, p.257). This simply means that a person had the right to defend their personal liberty by appearing in front of a judge to make sure that they were not being held unjustly. This protects people from an out of control executive, king or president that wants to detain people for no lawful reason. The history of the idea of habeas corpus reaches far back to the ancient days of Athens and the Roman Republic.…...

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