What Happened to Habeas Corpus?

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The votes were not even close in Congress last week, as the House and Senate pushed through legislation giving President Bush nearly all the powers he had asked for in detaining and trying terror suspects. Republican Senator Arlen Spector called the bill "patently unconstitutional" and voted for it anyway.

Among its many tough provisions — a bar on habeas corpus appeals, the legal bedrock that lets prisoners ask a judge to rule on the legality of their detention. It's a right with roots that go back to the Magna Carta and beyond, to the law's fundamental shield against kings and dungeons.

Hear about indefinite imprisonment as habeas corpus meets the war on terror and the war wins.

Quotes from the Show:

"17th and 18th century English lawyers would say: Look at what it [the Senate Bill] has done to the judiciary." Paul D. Halliday

"It [the Senate Bill] is certain to be challenged in court and it's not likely to survive a court challenge." Jonathan Hafetz

"The Combatant Status Review Tribunal is a sham, it's an insult to due process." Jonathan Hafetz

"The Supreme Court has said that resident aliens are not entitled to use the writ of habeas corpus." Richard Samp


Paul D. Halliday, Professor of history, University of Virginia. He is working on a book on the history of habeas corpus in England prior to 1800.;
Jonathan Hafetz, attorney at the Liberty and National Security Project of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University's Law School;

Richard Samp, chief counsel, Washington Legal Foundation, a legal think tank that has sided with the president on the issue of denying detainees' right of habeas corpus

This program aired on October 2, 2006.


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