Examine the relevance of Habeas corpus to the contemporary United States.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of Habeas Corpus applies in any time and in any context. The embedding of Habeas Corpus within the Constitution reflects how it is a concept that is timeless.  One point of relevance is that Habeas Corpus is a right of all individuals who are detained.  For the individual who has been detained by the government or authorities, Habeas Corpus is a part of their rights that cannot be vitiated.  The entitlement of rights for the accused is something that is applicable to every individual accused of criminal activity.  It is their first step in ensuring a sense of fairness as being evident in how they are treated. The relevance of Habeas Corpus forms the basic elements of rights that the accused is afforded under the Constitution.

In more recent times, Habeas Corpus has been a vital concept in understanding the progression of the War on Terror.  The suspension of Habeas Corpus in the detainment of enemy combatants in the early 2000s demonstrated the relevance of the concept.  The very idea that enforcement agencies under the Bush Administration could detain individuals and essentially ignore their rights to Habeas Corpus was something repudiated by the Supreme Court.  In the case of Boumediene v. Bush, Justice Kennedy wrote that “the framers decided that habeas corpus, [was] a right of first importance."  Such an idea demonstrated relevant to contemporary United States.  When the Supreme Court continues to remind us of the essential nature of the Habeas Corpus to contemporary United States jurisprudence.

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