Banner of the O'DBOL logo

My Pet Causes

Habeas Corpus, foundation of liberty

``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.'' United States Constitution, Article One, Section Nine.

Habeas Corpus, although described by an esoteric sounding Latin phrase, is a crucial starting point for liberty under the law. It allows someone imprisoned by the government to demand that the government explain to a judge the reason for imprisonment. Without it, government may imprison a person and throw away the key, with no accountability whatsoever. President Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the civil war, which was a case of rebellion, was ruled unconstitutional, and is widely regarded as a blemish on his record. The United States government has denied the privilege of habeas corpus at a time when there is no rebellion and no invasion of the US.

In 1861, rejecting President Lincoln's claim, a justice of the Supreme Court ruled that only Congress may suspend habeas corpus, and that a prisoner of the military must either be held subject to the rules and articles of war, or must be delivered immediately to civil authority. The full court affirmed this ruling in a later case.
[This page is best viewed with a mug of hot tea and ANY browser] [Web Interoperability Pledge] [FSF Associate Member]
"I am Spartacus"
Risks in computing

  • Proposal to separate network handles from names

  • Proposal for a Public Service Software Team