Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Habeas Suspendus

Today in 1863, President Lincoln suspended the habeas corpus on the grounds that the country faced a military rebellion. He authorized military commanders to arrest suspicious individuals at their discretion. That was a sad day. A time-honored tradition necessary to the protection of the citizen was temporarily set aside.

Though it was a necessity, the Civil War teaches us that it should only be a temporary act in times of national emergency. The suspension of habeas corpus should not be a permanent state of affairs.

Though this verges into the present, I don't think we should have preventative detention like in Britain or Israel. Though the government can hold a suspect for 72 hours without charges, it must present its evidence to a court after three days. I also think that a suspect should go through the criminal courts if he or she is a citizen or a green card holder. They have rights and those should be honored. We are going to be fighting the terrorists for a very long time and the government should be required to do its legal homework. You have to remember that a government often serves itself. It is also rather inept at times.

Obviously, this is a very controversial topic. I'd like to hear other people's views on the topic.

You see how the past can lead you to the present.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

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