Evaluating Habeas Corpus Essay

Length: 5 pages Sources: 7 Subject: Business - Law Type: Essay Paper: #29487652 Related Topics: Guantanamo Bay, King John, United Parcel Service, Constitutional Law
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Habeas Corpus

The legal term Harbeas Corpus is Latin for "you have the body." The term is an injunction that offers direction to law enforcement representatives who have custody of a detainee to appear in the court of law with the detainee to assist the judge to conclude whether the detainee is being held in prison in a lawful manner or not (Legal Dictionary).This court order is generally attained in the jurisdiction with regards to where the detainee is being held. An injunction of habeas corpus is basically the act of challenging or contesting the lawfulness of a detainee's incarceration and does not involve an investigation or probe into the detainee' sculpability or guiltlessness. Once the court that issues the court order examines and scrutinizes the why's and wherefores for confinement, it can then choose to discharge the detainee or incarcerate the inmate into custody.

Historical Evolution of Habeas corpus

The conception of habeas corpus was primarily articulated in the Magna Charter which is a statutory document that was enforced by English landowners at Runnymede on King John in the year 1215. Amid the freedoms affirmed in the Magna Charta was that no free being will be arrested, detained or jailed or banned, or banished, or wounded, nor will the government do anything to him against his will except which the law dictates (Constitution of the United States, 1787). The foundations of this legal aspect are instituted in English common law going as far back as the 14th century and were made part and parcel of the statutory law of England in the year 1679. The overseas courts of America dealt out the court order at common law, and administrations of the state went on to identify habeas constitutional rights or civil liberties subsequent of independence (Federal Judicial Center, n.d.).

There was no clarity made regarding this court order by the U.S. Constitution. It only states that the license or freedom of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall at no point be suspended except for the instances where there is an uprising or when there is invading of public safety (Constitution of the United States Article I, Section 9). The federal courts were given sanction by Congress to deal out habeas corpus to detainees who are in federal supervision or committed for trial before a federal court (Judiciary Act of 1789).However, in the year 1807, the Supreme Court held that federal courts may possibly not issue habeas corpus to convicts detained by national or federal governments for the reason that Congress had not delivered such power (Federal Judicial Center, n.d.).

An analysis of the relevance of habeas corpus

The writ of habeas corpus has been of great significance, particularly within this present epoch of war on terrorism in the whole world, as well as the rise of adversary warriors or illegitimate soldiers. To begin with, it has been quite difficult to have a sense of balance between the rights and freedoms of the supposed mercenaries and enemies with regards to the Constitutional Bill of rights and at the same time be able to properly fight global terrorism.

Regarded to be one of the most important and central human right in the constitution, the writ of habeas corpus has been an aspect that has been difficult for the authorities to cope with. For example, in his book, Hafetz (2010) makes the argument that the United States has been linked with illegal and unconstitutional detention. The case given is that of Guantanamo Bay where it has been for a long time now linked to torture, concealment and manipulation and exploitation of executive power. Hafetz (2010) goes on...

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Supreme Court of the right of habeas corpus with respect to enemy combatants or illegal combatants

With regards to the above mentioned majority of this legal process has placed emphasis on Guantanamo Bay and as a result generating numerous rulings from the Supreme Court. One of the most prominent and important one is the ruling in the case of Boumediene v. Bush. In this particular case law, the Court prohibited and overruled the government's dispute that basically because a captive is a not a citizen and is not detained within the United States, he or she is automatically not considered in the Constitution. In its decision, the court ruled that Guantanamo prisoners have a constitutional right to use courts in the United States based on the habeas corpus Suspension Clause. In addition, the Supreme Court overturned legislature by Congress pursuing to rob them of that right and refute them an unbiased trial to contest their sustained incarceration (Elsea and Garcia, 2010).

In the case of Boumediene v. Bush, judges came to different and opposing opinions. According to Justice Kennedy, who was on the side of the majority, concluded that the inmates who are detained at Guantanamo bay as rival soldiers has a right based on the constitution to have their habeas corpus reviewed. The court thereafter fell back on the legality of legitimacy based on the constitution of the MCA centered on the Suspension Clause, ruling that it safeguards the constitutional rights and civil liberties of petitioners although the United States did not have official authority over the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base. This was conferring to the case law Fleming v. Page which concluded that a region may be under the de jure authority of one country while also under the de facto authority of another country, and judging by this the Supreme Court came to the ruling that the United States had de facto authority over Guantanamo Bay (Elsea and Garcia, 2010).

Perspectives in regard to Habeas Corpus

There are different standpoints and outlooks on the whole discussion of the summons of habeas corpus. In this paper, the perspectives discussed will be those of the Supreme Court. The case Rasul v. Bush, about a decade ago came to be the first case law in which the court outright debated and discoursed about the detention policies effected at the Guantanamo bay during the Bush administration. In this case law, the court came to the conclusion that 28 U.S.C. § 2241 gives the federal district courts the authority to preside over habeas corpus appeals and requisitions by foreigners detained within the boundary over which the United States undertakes complete and exclusive jurisdiction. This detainment encompassed those detained at Guantanamo Bay. The Supreme Court thereafter ruled for the district courts to hear the petitions (Hafetz, 2010).

Thereafter, the administration of former President Bush reacted to Rasul vs. Bush by allowing the inmates to bring forth their appeals to the military tribunals and the Supreme Court yet again deliberated upon this issue in the year 2006 when they presided over and ruled the case Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (548 U.S.557). In this particular case law, the court ruled that the President does not have any legal right or power even at his position as Commander-in-Chief to rule over the prisoners in military tribunals (Legal Information institute n.d.).

In the year 2005, the United States Congress reacted to this by legislating the Detainee Treatment Act which asserts that no judges, magistrates or courts of law have jurisdiction to preside over or rule any appeals made for a writ of habeas corpus petitioned by foreigners who are incarcerated at Guantanamo Bay (DTA, 2005). Three years later, this piece of legislation was contested regarding its legality by a citizen of Algeria in the case Boumediene v. Bush. The Supreme Court ruled that for the Congress to suspend writ of habeas corpus there has to be an unambiguous and unequivocal suspension of the writ and that simply disrobing the federal courts of authority and prerogative does not in point of fact suspend the writ. The Court also indicated that the prisoners did not have appropriate routine protections to make certain they acquired unbiased hearings and the capability to determine the nature of what is being charged against them (Legal Information institute n.d; Lohmann, 2008).

The Role of the President as Commander in Chief and Congress in Suspending Habeas Corpus

The Constitution's Suspension Clause (Article one of section nine clause two) outlines the limitation as to when the injunction involving habeas corpus may be perched. However, it is imperative to note that the constitution on its own does not authorize or sanction the U.S. federal government with the authority to perch the injunction to begin with. In accordance to Nicholas Quinn Rosenkrantz who is a professor in constitutional law, deduces that Congress has the only power and authority to be able to suspend the writ of habeas corpus with reference to the constitution (Natelson, 2013). In as much as there might come about instances where the security of the nation necessitates for the President to suspend the court order of habeas corpus, it is imperative that by no means should the President individually do so. Sanctioning such…

Sources Used in Documents:

References

Constitution of the United States (1787).

Elsea, J.K., Garcia, M.J. (2010). Enemy Combatant Detainees: Habeas Corpus Challenges in Federal Court. Congressional Research Service.

Federal Judicial Center. (N.D.). History of the Federal Judiciary. Accessed from: http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/jurisdiction_habeas.html

Gaffney, M. (2009).Boumediene v. Bush: Legal Realism and the Waron Terror. Retrieved from: http://www.law.harvard.edu/students/orgs/crcl/vol44_1/197-212.pdf
Legal Dictionary Available at http://dictionary.law.com/Default.aspx?selected=848. Accessed on 30 thJanuary, 2015.
Legal Information institute. (n.d.). Commander in Chief Powers. Accessed from: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/commander_in_chief_powers
Lohmann, J. (2008). Boumediene v. Bush, 553 U.S. 723. Accessed from: http://www.lawfareblog.com/wiki/the-lawfare-wiki-document-library/post-911-era-materials/post-911-era-materials-court-cases/boumediene-v-bush-553-u-s-723-2008
Natelson, R. (2013). Where is the Power to Suspend Habeas Corpus? Accessed from: http://constitution.i2i.org/2013/08/18/where-is-the-power-to-suspend-habeas-corpus/
Palomares, E. (N. D). "Illegal confinement: presidential authority to suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus during times of emergency." Available at <http://www-bcf.usc.edu/~idjlaw/PDF/12-1/12-1%20Palomares.pdf> Accessed on 30th January 2015.


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