"Why suspend the habeas corpus in insurrections and rebellions?
Examine the history of England. See how few of the cases of the
suspension of the habeas corpus law have been worthy of that
suspension. They have been either real treasons, wherein the parties
might as well have been charged at once, or sham plots, where it was
shameful they should ever have been suspected. Yet for the few cases
wherein the suspension of the habeas corpus has done real good, that
operation is now become habitual and the minds of the nation almost
prepared to live under its constant suspension."
by:
Thomas Jefferson
(1743-1826), US Founding Father, drafted the Declaration of Independence, 3rd US President
Source:
letter to James Madison, 1788

Definition of 'habeas corpus':
A writ having for its object to bring a party before a court or judge; especially, one to inquire into the cause of a person's imprisonment or detention by another, with the view to protect the right to personal liberty.
http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/Habeas%20corpus
Rating:
Categories:
 
Bookmark and Share  
Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Anonymous      
Habeus corpus does not and should not apply to prisoners of war, who should be imprisoned until the war ends, or until there be received a secure promise that they would not continue to participate in the war.
 -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    Well, David, we are not at war -- at least I do not remember Congress ever declaring it. Therefore, the suspension of habeas corpus with the new Military Commissions Act is exclusively an Executive Order and under the exclusive jurisdiction of the President (and his agencies: FBI, CIA, NSA, etc.) Warrants may be a pain in the ass, but they are there for a good reason.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
     -- Mike, Norwalk      
    For domestic purposes, habeus corpus should not be suspended, but when we are at war, which we certainly are and have been, despite the lack of a formal declaration by Congress, enemy combatants should not enjoy habeus corpus rights, whether the enemy is captured abroad or at home. The declaration of war has been made by enemy leaders against us, even though Congress has not reciprocated. Jihad is war.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
  • 1
  •  
    One can not conduct a war against an idea. The "War on Terrorism" is not a war, it is just a slogan to bring general fear, uncertainty and doubt to the general populous and thus power to those currently running this country (into the ground). People who plan and commit acts of terror are criminals, and can and should be pursued as such... including bringing them before a court, conducting an open trial, and abiding by the results of that trial. As some great thinkers once said, ALL men(sic) are created equal... and thus ALL deserve the basic protection of the law, including the right of habeas corpus... to do less is nothing more than to lower ourselves to the state of being criminals.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
  • 1
  •  
    p.s. "Jihad" is not the same as what we mean by "war". Learn your enemy and their language.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA US     
  • 1
  •  
    I don't know the details of this Military Commissions Act, but I have seen statements from some very conservative, Constitutional organizations which claim this act marks the death of habeus corpus in America. This is the third piece of major legislation the Bush administration and this "conservative" Congress have passed which have very serious constitutional concerns. If we continue on this path of trading freedom for security, ???
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
  • 1
  •  
     -- Joe, Rochester, MI      
    WOW. For once, I agree (mostly) with Reston.
     -- Mike, Mount Holly, NC     
  • 2
  •  
    "Those who wish to sacrifice liberty for perceived security deserve neither." Benjamin Franklin.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 2
  •  
    I would like to know of what Thomas Jefferson was referring to when he made that statement.
     -- me again     
  •  
    I can see the majority of us vote against being a banana republic (four and a half stars) - I just wish the government would behave the same way. With terrorism there is no end to war - a war on this, a war on that, we so easily use the word war when it is really a criminal act. We got so use to war with Iraq when the word Invade should be used. We are so manipulative in our use of certain words – this happens to be one case that the propaganda machine seems to be working. It’s amazing; those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send our soldiers to die for the illegal invasion Iraq. American government has made the world a far more dangerous place today.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 1
  •  
    Me again: Jefferson repealed the Alien and Sedition Act passed by John Adams while president. The act suspended habeas corpus and was used to arrest certain American newspaper publishers without cause, without warrant, and without trial. Jefferson despised the act and promptly repealed it during his term as president.
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
  • 1
  •  
    Mike from Mount Holly: In case you may have missed Keith Olbermann's MSNBC commentary on the Military Commissions Act, here are couple a links:
    MSNBC Countdown:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15318240/
    Olbermann's Commentary:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15000217/ns/msnbc_tv-countdown_with_keith_olbermann/
     -- Editor, Liberty Quotes     
  • 2
  •  
    Reston, and to whomever it it concerns: The definition of jihad may not be war for some, but it is clearly exactly that for many, and that you cannot see this is remarkable. I guess you believe that the Bush administration orchestrated 9/11. And the war against terrorism is not a war against an idea, but a war against those who believe in and carry out jihad as a war, as well as against their non-Moslem allies. Several weeks before 9/11, Fidel Castro spoke in Iran and told the audience of political figures that between Iran and Cuba they could bring the United States to its knees. The war began long before 9/11, though you cannot see it. You cannot make a war cease to exist by staying in denial. But you go ahead and disband the armed forces if you like. I won't do anything but praise God and laugh at your ingenuousness.
     -- David L. Rosenthal     
  •  
    The federal government already has all the laws it needs to prosecute 'enemies of the state' -- the rules of which are to protect those charged from arbitrary imprisonment. The new law broadly defines 'enemy combatant' to include anyone who may protest this legislation. This law targets Americans, not those jihadists in the field warring against American forces abroad. Suspending habeas corpus is not required to arrest and try 'suspected' criminals. The burden of proof is on the accuser, the judgment of which is in the hands of the jury. Military courts have their proper jurisdictions -- circumventing the common law to supposedly expedite the capture of terrorists is complete hogwash. It is a blatant attempt at usurping power by the Executive branch. This act will be repealed one day, but many innocent people will have been harmed in the process. The truth is, it is to put fear into opponents of this act -- you are either with us or with the terrorists -- that is Bush Jr.'s legacy.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    In case you didn't know what going on in Iraq is not a jihad its CIVIL WAR and our boys are in the middle getting killed.
     -- Robert, Sarasota     
  • 1
  •  
    If a jihad, or holy war, is a war, who declared it and how will we know when it's over? If 'terrorists' declared it, who were they? Iraqis? Is that why we invaded Iraq? If 9/11 was an unprovoked attack on the the US, like 12/7/41, then why didn't we declare war on the perpetrators the very next day as we did then? I don't think we are at war. We are occupying another country, which happens to be at war with itself, for unspecified reasons and that country is not our enemy. Any act of violence against our country, outside of war, is simply a crime and should be treated as such, unless we have declared war. We have definite laws to deal with criminals and the means we are using do not comply.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
  • 1
  •  
    Have you not noticed that, since the security practices of post-9/11 were implemented, inadequate as they may be, American passenger airliners have stopped falling out of the sky? Before 9/11, it was a regular event to have an airliner fall out of the sky. And have you not noticed the long list of attacks against American personnel around the world, leading up to 9/11? I guess you have not. And who said that the war we are engaged in is against Iraq? We are in Iraq, but we are at war with transnational terrorists. It is clearly a war. That you don't think so is irrelevant.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  • 1
  •  
    But like jack Nicholson said in 1992, in the movie "A Few Good Men," "You can't handle the truth!" :-)
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    Yes, David, I know that whatever 'we' think is irrelevant -- same for you. Only a declaration of war by the Congress is officially 'war'. The rest is semantics. Many Christians are for attacking Muslims in their own countries just as they did in the Dark Ages. But freedom of religion does not allow us to wipe out the unbelievers Religionists have been killing each other since the beginning of time -- and apparently hatred for the other side is still the leading cause. Chalk up another point for religion...
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    And I am a native New Yorker, and we got punched in the nose on 9/11. We bounced back and will keep bouncing back -- we've got another 200 years of come-backs to go. I am ashamed of our President who has used this terrible act to further the plans of the New World Order. We are playing into the hands of the terrorists -- and that is what the powers-that-be want. We are incorrectly identifying those trying to destroy America -- the enemy is already within and seated in high places.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    The difference between an actual state of war and a legally declared war is, to those on the field of battle, of little import. The overall effect is the same. The legal definition cannot nullify reality. The war against those allied against the free world, in what some call Jihad and others revolution, is not a religious war. If it were, we would be dropping bombs indiscriminately on Moslem countries everywhere. Israel alone has enough nuclear capability to wipe out Islam (along with itself and most everyone else, of course). The enemy is within and without.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    The war in Iraq is and always has been about controlling the oil and profiting (immensely) from it -- period. And as long as we are willing to save a few bucks buying stuff made by Chinese prisoners (with borrowed money I might add), the Communists become our creditors -- imagine!! It is obviously a preconceived plan to destroy the United States -- and we are gleefully providing our enemies the rope with which to hang ourselves. Makes me sick.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    The war is about one thing or another, depending upon the point of view. For example, the soldier on the ground is fighting to stay alive, to protect himself and his buddies, to serve his nation, or to stay out of jail for desertion. Many soldiers claim to feel proud of the great job they are doing. You can't tell them that they fought only to control the oil. They would rightly think of you as a liar.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    There are MANY returning servicemen/women returning from the Middle East who regret ever enlisting in the first place. Many who have joined the armed forces for the education, training, and job security it provides suddenly found themselves in foreign lands killing innocent civilians. When someone joins the Army, they are taught to follow orders without question -- when the commanders use this awesome power to further their own political and financial gains, it is tyranny, and the poor grunt in the trenches has no choice but to kill or be killed. Gandhi liberated his country from tyranny with non-violent non-cooperation with evil. Courage like that among Americans would be the most incredible act of faith the world has ever seen. But courage and the spirit of independence is a rare commodity in America. Dependency on foreign energy and Communist goods can only lead to the eventual enslavement of America. I have tremendous respect for those that wish to serve their country, and I want them home to be ready to defend Freedom here, not dispersed throughout the world in foreign entanglements leaving America exposed. Defend your dependence, David, if you can, but it is collusion with those determined to undermine freedom and independence in America.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    Whoever enlists for the education, intending not to serve according to the mandates of the government, is committing fraud and grand larceny. Plain and simple. Gandhi also said that one of the greatest crimes ever committed was that of the British Empire, when it denied the use of arms to India. Get your facts straight, Archer, before you preach. Gandhi used the methods he used because he had no others available.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    Stop calling Iraq a war! It was an invasion of a sovereign country by another country ten times its size, -- and known to be defenseless because there were weapons inspectors going through it for months leading up to the invasion -- for the purpose of taking control of their oil and using it to finance the operation, according to one Paul Wolfowitz (remember him"?). It was a "slam dunk". We are not at war with Iraq or anyone else until Congress gets around to naming someone. Who is the enemy? We were told in May 2003; "Mission Accomplished". Let's be careful how we use the word war or maybe we could be charged with war crimes.
     -- Jack, Green, OH     
  • 1
  •  
    Jack: The war is not against Iraq, but it happens to be taking place in Iraq, as well as in other countries. Yes, it is a war.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    Gandhi's use of non-violent non-cooperation was his philosophical doctrine from the very beginning -- it was not because he had no other options. In fact, the people that joined him in the quest for freedom were willing and ready to use weapons to accomplish the goal. In the context of freedom and self-determination, Gandhi condemned the British prohibition of arms imposed upon the Indian people. There were standing British armies stationed throughout India, and the people were powerless to defend themselves without British support. To disarm the people is the best way to enslave them -- and the Indians were enslaved by the British and subjugated by them. Gandhi deplored violence as "an eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind." When his supporters began armed and violent uprisings, Gandhi fasted in protest until the entire country stopped fighting -- and it worked. Eventually the British simply walked out of India as there was no way to get the people to obey any more while the world looked on in horror of the abuses of the British. So, David, those are the facts. Arms are a last resort in self-defense. Non-violent boycotts against tyranny work a whole lot better than armed rebellions as the despot will eventually show his true colors of inhumanity. There certainly is an opportunity in America to do the same thing. Boycott government services, banks, and communist goods and watch the devil rear its ugly head. Yes, life is a constant battle -- it is a war indeed, but the battleground is within ourselves. "War' in terms of the Constitution is a declaration of war -- until then, powers reserved for the President in times of 'war' are not granted -- it is an usurpation of power by the Executive branch to wage a war without a declaration of war from the Congress -- simple as that. So officially, the US is NOT at war with Iraq although the president has sent American troops to war without the authorization of the People. If we are going to invade Iraq to protect freedom at home, then let Congress declare war and let's go. When our servant government assumes arbitrary and dictatorial powers, we are in BIG trouble -- it means they do not think the People can do anything to stop the abuse. And ever the noose grows tighter. Wake up, man.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    While I do not condemn anyone who chooses to allow himself to be abused, rather than using arms to defend himself, it is clear that the case for non-violence that triumphed in India has not worked at all in other places. You wrote: "Non-violent boycotts against tyranny work a whole lot better than armed rebellions as the despot will eventually show his true colors of inhumanity." But the true colors of tyrants around the globe are showing in the cases of one third of the population of the world that is subjected to totalitarian rule, such as in Cuba, where for 48 years the people have been cruelly oppressed and unable to free themselves. You wrote: "So officially, the US is NOT at war with Iraq..." As far as war's definition, ask the people on the scene whether what they have is a war. I imagine they have a clear picture of what they have. The war is not against Iraq, and never has been. The war against Saddam's regime has ended, which was part of a larger war against the allies of terrorism, and Saddam was certainly one of those. The war goes on, not against Iraq. The US has been reconstructing Iraq, with the collaboration of its citizens.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  •  
    The president may not use the military to wage war in a foreign land without a declaration of war from Congress -- otherwise, what is to stop the President from becoming a dictator? As far as Iraq reconstruction goes, read the Iraqi Constitution -- it is not even close to the US Constitution. It is not a declaration of the People setting limits to governmental power -- it is a declaration of the government stating what the rights of the People are -- if it isn't written there, it isn't a right. No outside power can 'free' a people -- the people must make that declaration themselves and then fight for it. The new Iraq is NOT a republic -- it is a socialist state under the thumb of the US, Britain, and the IMF. The oil is reserved for Bush/Cheney Inc. who used the power of the US military to secure personal control over Iraqi oil. It has nothing to do with creating a free and sovereign nation. Nothing.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 1
  •  
    Fact: The president is fighting a war. Opinion: What the president is doing is permitted by Congress, obviously, since no one has attempted to impeach him. Remember how many people died in Tiennamen Square? People cannot effectively fight without arms against a totalitarian military dictotarship that has no qualms about slaughtering any and all opposition.
     -- David L Rosenthal     
  • 1
  •  
    This is NOT A WAR, we invaded Iraq illegally and now they are under our occupation. I'm trying to find everything Jefferson and the Contstitution says about impeachment, and googled John Nichols book, the Genius of Impeachment...hmmm...I wonder if that book is online?
     -- madebutante, Laguna Niguel     
  • 1
  •  
    Speaking as someone who has studied this quite a bit, who has many friends serving in Iraq and other places, I can tell you that this situation is far too complex to reduce to a one-liner. The leaders of Iran believe that the apocalypse is nigh and that it is their duty to sow chaos through the middle east, specifically Iraq, to hasten it's approach. They believe that the United States is essentially the Antichrist and must be destroyed at any cost. This is a belief shared by many of the terrorist groups which we are fighting. The leaders of France are corrupt and gladly sell out the future of the free world for a little extra coin in their pockets. As for Russia, Putin wants the cold war back. That's the only thing I can come up with to explain the way he's been acting lately. Iraq is *not* in the middle of a civil war. Most of the people doing the fighting are foreign nationals, primarily from Iran. Ditto for the majority of the weapons being used. Many IEDs are not improvised at all. Lately when our troops have moved into an area to clean it up, the first question the local leaders ask is "are you staying?" And when the answer is yes they stand up for themselves and expose the terrorists, foreign fighters and weapons caches they know about. The lack of progress on an Iraqi constitution is somewhat troubling, yes. But consider, it took us ten years to write ours, and we didn't have terrorists from another country trying to destroy us. There's more, but anyone who actually cares can find the information themselves, and I don't feel like wasting my time typing things that many people won't believe anyway. The Wizard's First Rule is a major irritation in the real world. Might want to look that up too while you're at it. Now to the quote. Personally I don't think habeas corpus should ever be suspended for American citizens. However, I also think that when we catch someone who is supporting the terrorist organizations that seek the destruction of this country we should try them for treason, and if they are found guilty we should arrange for a public execution. We are the only country in the world which guarantees rights to its citizens. All the others of which I am aware enumerate the rights of their citizens with the caveat that they may be revoked at the whim of the government. We must protect ourselves from those who would destroy us, but we must not destroy ourselves to do it.
     -- L Perkins.     
  •  
    L. Perkins, Amazing. Let me change a couple of names around and see if your phraseology doesn't ring more true: The leaders of the U.S. under Bush believed that the apocalypse is nigh and that it is their duty to sow chaos through the middle east, specifically Iraq, to hasten it's approach. They believe that the Muslim world is essentially the Antichrist and must be destroyed at any cost.
     -- RFB, McHenry, IL     
  • 1
  •  
    David R., it would appear you still think Saddam Hussein was allied with al qaeda and in some way responsible for 9/11. The 9/11 attack give bush a reason to invade Iraq. It gave him an excuse. As Cheney said, it was an opportunity. And if habeus corpus can be suspended in wartime and this is war, then all those held captive under that suspension can expect to grow old and die in captivity, because this has been described by the Pentagon and others as "the long war" -meaning, essentially, without end. Straight out of 1984 (even the term). And keep in mind that most of those captured in Afghanistan were entirely unaware of the impending 9/11 attack when it happened. Or were just personal enemies of those who turned them in for the reward money, and had nothing to do with al Qaeda. But their families sure will now. Finally, a "war on terror" is literally a war on a tactic. It's like a "war on riflery" or a "war on strafing." It guarantees never running out of enemies. The truth is, it's a war FOR the warmaking industry, as that's who profits. Its also a war FOR capital, as it's the owners of Carlisle Group (such as the bin Laden family), Blackwater, McDonnell-Douglas, Remington Firearms, and so on that profit. And it's a war to separate the financial elite from the masses by creating ever more disparity between the wealthy and the poor, shrinking the middle class so more and more of them are among the poor. Bush said it best speaking to his crowd: "Some people call you the haves and the have mores; I call you my base."
     -- RFB, McHenry, IL     
  • 1
  •  
     -- Kimo, USA      
    While habeas corpus had still a perception of standing, I personally knew of an individual that was continually being driven from prison to prison in the back of a van so no court could be contacted as to his where-abouts.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 1
  •  
    Bush should have been impeached and Obama should now be impeached for invading foreign countries without just cause and without a Declaration of War as mandated by the Constitution. And to legislate the Patriot Act based on said invasion in the false flag name of fighting terrorism is only adding insult to injury. The goal has never been to fight terrorism, but to subjugate the American public and destroy their rights.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
  • 1
  •  
    We have a 'do as I say and not as I do' type of government in this country!
     -- Anonymous, Tuttle     
  • 2
  •  
     -- Ronw13, Yachats OR      
     
    Rate this quote!
    How many stars?
    0
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

     
    What do YOU think?
    Your name:
    Your town:
        CLICK JUST ONCE!

    More Quotations
    Get a Quote-A-Day! Free!
    Liberty Quotes sent to your mail box.
    RSS Subscribe
    Quotes & Quotations - Send This Quote to a Friend

    © 1998-2018 Liberty-Tree.ca