The Corpse of Habeas Corpus
Dec 17, 2008 | 13830 views | 1 1 comments | 241 241 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

In a recent edition of your newspaper (December 4, 2008), a reader opinionated that it was “unconstitutional” to suspend the Writ of Habeas Corpus (Latin for “you have the body.”)

Section 9, Article 2 of the constitution reads: The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless, when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it. The problem with this article was the absence of who was privileged to suspend the writ.

At the time, there indeed was a rebellion and President Lincoln in that constitutional vacuum assumed his executive authority to impose the writ even though Supreme Court Justice Taney asserted he could not.

On the confederate side, President Jefferson Davis also suspended the Writ, but unlike Lincoln, asked his Congress for the authority to do so, and it was granted. I believe many years later the US Supreme Court made a ruling on this matter and I hope a lawyer well versed in constitutional law can give us the scoop on it.


Hyman Auslander


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April 29, 2009