What is Habeas Corpus?

September 10, 2019


“Habeas corpus” – a legal concept offering people the chance to challenge being held in jail unlawfully – originated with the Magna Carta in 1215, and was included in the Constitution via the Suspension Clause in Article I. Issues surrounding the scope of habeas rights have arisen throughout American history, from the Founding to the Civil War to Japanese internment during World War II. But the post-9/11 detention of American citizens and others accused of terrorism led to renewed debate about due process rights for citizens and noncitizens alike, as well as landmark Supreme Court cases interpreting the right of habeas corpus as it applies both at home and abroad—from Hamdi v. Rumsfeld to Boumediene v. Bush. Professor Amanda Tyler of Berkeley Law visited the NCC to discuss her involvement in the Hamdi case and to trace the history of habeas corpus, and discuss her book Habeas Corpus in Wartime: From the Tower of London to Guantanamo Bay. She sat down with NCC Senior Director of Content Lana Ulrich.

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