Habeas Corpus

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The Foundation for Economic Education provides that since its inception, the right of Habeas Corpus has been “widely considered to be the cornerstone of individual liberty.” (McElroy, 2009) This right is invoked through civil action, often enforced by a court order, and usually demands for a custodian, more often than not the government, to produce a detained individual. It is worth noting that the purpose of habeas corpus is not to essentially to prove the innocence of the detainee, but rather, the lawfulness of their detention; that is, whether it meets the standards prescribed under the law of the land,. As such, if detainment is dimmed consistent with the law, then the individual is subjected to due process. On the other hand, if it is invalid, then the custodian is forced under the law to set the detained person free. In the years after September 11th, 2001, the US government stepped up its efforts against terror, declaring an all-out war on the vice. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the right to habeas corpus is applied in the context of detained terrorism suspects. How does the US Supreme Court interpret the right of habeas corpus with regard to individuals characterized as enemy combatants?
Historical Evolution of Habeas Corpus
Habeas Corpus is interpreted in English to mean “you may have the body” (Rutherford Institute, 2014). It has its origins from English common law, and first appeared on the Magna Carta in 1215 (Rutherford Institute, 2014). In England, habeas corpus derives its powers from Article 39 of the Magna Carta, whereby it states that “no freeman shall be taken, or imprisoned, or disseized, or outlawed or exiled, or in any way harmed, nor will we go upon or send upon him, save by the ...

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Hawke, A. (2007). Primer: Guantanamo Detainees’ Rights. The US Department of Justice. Available online from
McElroy, W. (2009). The Great Writ Then and Now. The Foundation for Economic Education. Accessed on 9th June, 2014 from
Osborne, R. J. (2008). The Writ of Habeas Corpus, The Constitution and Abraham Lincoln, War President. Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. Accessed on 9th June, 2014 from
The Rutherford Institute. (2014). Habeas Corpus. The Rutherford Institute. Accessed on 9th June, 2014 from
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