Why Habeas Corpus Matters

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The right of habeas corpus has been an important safeguard of individual freedom. We look into what habeas corpus really means, its medieval origins, and whether it's been weakened in the US in recent years. Dr. Paul Brand is a senior research fellow at Oxford University; Noah Feldman is professor of law at Harvard Law School.


Dr. Paul Brand and Noah Feldman

Comments [4]

Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

Well, you have to figure that if Guantanamo doesn't constitute US territory or sovereignty in any way, doesn't that by default make it a part of Cuban sovereignty and therefore under the jurisdiction of Castro's government? No, of course not. So if we want to have our cake and eat it too, we're basically left with the result that force is the only rule of law.

Nov. 08 2007 12:44 PM
Amy from Manhattan

Doesn't that Bush administration's claim that habeas corpus doesn't apply in Guantánamo imply they believe that *no* Constitutional rights apply to *anyone* under US jurisdiction but outside of US territory? Have they ever tried to claim this with regard to any other Constitutional provisions?

Nov. 08 2007 12:39 PM
Paulo from Paterson, New Jersey

It's good that at the very least the administration has been forced to address Guantanamo Bay as an issue rather than just sweep it under the rug. I think the prison has been greatly exaggerated by some liberals, but I think it is fundamentally important that we establish a legal standing for the people there. Because otherwise, a simple redefinition of who the "enemy" is allows the government to cast a wider net and ultimately lead to the indefinite imprisonment of people that are labeled "terrorist" but aren't really.

I think that many third world countries (such as Pakistan right now) demonstrate the dangers of the War on Terror as a means for dictators and oppressive governments to get rid of political undesirables by painting them with the terrorist brush. It doesn't matter if it's a fact. They just need to assign the label. We dismiss out of hand that such a thing could ever happen here, but that very attitude makes the odds of it happening much more likely. Complacency is fertile ground for dictators. That's not to say this President wants to be king, but I think he's shown that anyone who wants it need only reach out and grab it.

Nov. 08 2007 12:38 PM

I am under the impression that current law treats aliens, landed imigrants and visitors differently than citizens since 9/11 with respect to Habeus Corpus. If I were to be suspected of a crime, could my rights, as an immigrant, be suspended because of the anti-terrorism laws you are talking about today? I work here legally, but am not a citizen or a permanent resident, yet.

Nov. 08 2007 12:24 PM

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