Writ of Habeas Corpus
Origin: Specified in Section 39 of the Magna Carta (1215), one of the limits of power the barons imposed on the king. Also enacted as a statute in 1641, but because it was not entirely effectual, an amendment was passed in 1679.
This is such an important right; it limits the government from sending a suspect to jail without a trial. A trial must be held because a judge must determine if there are lawful reasons to sentence a prisoner to serve time.
Boumediene v. Bush
Background: In 2002 Lakhdar Boumediene and five other Algerian natives were seized by Bosnian police when U.S. intelligence officers suspected their involvement in a plot to attack the U.S. embassy there. The U.S. government classified the men as enemy combatants in the war on terror and detained them at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, which is located on land that the U.S. leases from Cuba. Boumediene filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, alleging violations of the Constitution's Due Process Clause, various statutes and treaties, the common law, and international law. The District Court judge granted the government's motion to have all of the claims dismissed on the ground that Boumediene, as an alien detained at an overseas military base, had no right to a habeas petition. In 2006, Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (MCA). The Act eliminates federal courts' jurisdiction to hear habeas applications from detainees who have been designated as enemy combatants.
Decision: 5 votes for Boumediene, 4 vote(s) against -Majority: Written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, found that the constitutionally guaranteed right of habeas corpus review applies to people held in…