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The Dirty History of Habeas Corpus

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The Dirty History of Habeas Corpus

 

The Power of Habeas Corpus in America: From the King’s Prerogative to the War on Terror, Anthony Gregory, Cambridge, 432 pages

 

By Chase MadarMay 8, 2014

How powerful is the law? The laws of armed conflict—grandly and euphemistically called “international humanitarian law”—have never been better cultivated by so many jurists, yet somehow hundreds of thousands of Iraqis managed to die after our 2003 invasion, with a perhaps greater number perishing due to the economic sanctions between our Gulf Wars.

The era since World War II has also seen an expansion of defendants’ rights in criminal procedure, yet in the past 30 years the arc of our history has bent toward mass incarceration on a scale surpassed only by the Gulag.

 

None of this is lost on Anthony Gregory, a researcher at the libertarian Independent Institute whose recent book, The Power of Habeas Corpus in America, is a sophisticated biography of that most essential legal right, the “negative liberty” not to be arbitrarily imprisoned by the state. As Rubin “Hurricane” Carter, a boxer framed for murder and then freed on a habeas motion, said, “The Writ of Habeas Corpus is not just a piece of paper, not just a quaint Latin phrase. It was the key to my freedom.”

 

But despite the central importance of habeas in Anglo-American law Scissors-32x32.pnghttp://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-dirty-history-of-habeas-corpus/

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