Posted: April 23rd, 2016
Several controversial Supreme Court cases have come out of GITMO. One fundamental question that has been debated, but not clearly resolved, is to what extent the war on terror justifies the President’s indefinite detention of “enemy combatants” without the possibility of the minimal judicial review protected by habeas corpus? Another issue in the debate is to what extent Congress must clearly authorize the President to conduct extra-judicial detentions in order for them to be legal? In 2008, the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush offered some answers to these questions. However, the deeply divided 5-4 Court and the likelihood of the protracted nature of the war on terror suggest that debate around these important questions will continue. Writing the Final Paper in this course will prepare you to participate intelligently as a citizen in this ongoing debate.
Write an essay about the right of habeas corpus in the context of the war on terror. Your essay should address the following subtopics:
The general meaning of the right of habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution and its relationship to the protection of other civil liberties.
The historical evolution of habeas corpus, including its English and American traditions.
Examples from U.S. history of the “suspension” of habeas corpus and their applicability to the present.
The relevance of habeas corpus to the contemporary U.S. situation during the war on terror, especially with respect to persons characterized by the President as “enemy combatants” or “illegal combatants.”
The U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the right of habeas corpus with respect to “enemy combatants” or “illegal combatants” (i.e., the views of the five justices making up the majority in Boumediene v. Bush as well as the views of the four dissenting justices).
Your evaluation of various perspectives on this topic expressed by justices of the Supreme Court, leaders in other branches of government, and commentators in both the academic and popular media. Your assessment should consider several perspectives on this topic, including :
The role of the President as commander-in-chief.
The role of Congress in determining when habeas corpus can be “suspended.”
The role of the Supreme Court in protecting civil liberties, including the judicial philosophy which should guide the Court in this role, and
Your personal philosophy, values or ideology about the balance between civil liberties and national security in the context of an unending war on terror.
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