Goodby to habeas corpus

Almost unfathomable (or all too fathomable) that the current Repubican administration with the help of some Democrats, has eliminated the right of habeas corpus with Bush’s signing of the Military Commissions Act. What is habeas corpus and why is it important?

The answer to the first part comes from Wikipedia: Known as the “Great Writ”, the writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum is a legal proceeding in which an individual held in custody can challenge the propriety of that custody under the law. The prisoner, or some other person on his behalf (for example, where the prisoner is being held incommunicado), may petition the court or an individual judge for a writ of habeas corpus.

As to why it’s important, it is the limit on the government’s power to arrest you and hold you indefinitely without any way for you to challenge the lawfulness of your imprisonment. We think this can’t happen to us. But, however unlikely, it now can. The media has basically ignored this part of the story of the passage and Bush’s signing of the Military Commissions Act.

For a media story that didn’t ignore this and a video of Keith Olbermann’s editorial last night, click here. The emotioning for some will seem a bit over the top, but it does drive home the point that habeas corpus is now, and in the worst way, history.

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