Despite its mystique as the greatest Anglo-American legal protection, habeas corpus has a long history that features opportunistic power plays, political hypocrisy, ad hoc jurisprudence, and many failures in effectively securing individual liberty. The Power of Habeas Corpus in America tells the story of the writ from medieval England to modern America, crediting the rocky history to the writ’s very nature as a government power.
This pioneering book weighs in on habeas’s historical controversies—addressing its origins, the relationship between king and parliament, the U.S. Constitution’s Suspension Clause, the writ’s role in the power struggle between the federal government and the states, and the proper scope of federal habeas for state prisoners and for wartime detainees from the Civil War and World War II to the War on Terror.
Anthony Gregory stresses the importance of liberty and detention policy in making the writ more than a tool of power. Taken as a whole, The Power of Habeas Corpus in America presents a nuanced and critical view of the writ’s history, showing the dark side of this most revered judicial power.
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 15, 2013)