My Thesis: Civil liberties paralleled with counterterrorist policies are
unjustified during attacks on the United States.
Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on
The final assignment for this course is a
Final Paper. The purpose of the Final Paper is to give you an opportunity to
apply much of what you have learned about American national government to an
examination of civil liberties in the context of the war on terror.
Soon after the U.S.
invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the Bush administration developed a plan for
holding and interrogating captured prisoners. They were sent to a prison inside
a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, on land leased from the government of Cuba.
Since 2002, over 700 men have been detained at Gitmo. Most have been released
without charges or turned over to other governments. In 2011, Congress
specifically prohibited the expenditure of funds to transfer Gitmo prisoners to
detention facilities in the continental United States, making it virtually
impossible to try them in civilian courts. As of April 2012, 169 remained in
detention at Gitmo (Sutton, 2012).
An assumption made by the Bush
administration in selecting this location was that it was beyond the
jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The administration wanted to avoid any judicial
oversight of how it handled detainees, characterized as enemy combatants. A
possible legal challenge to indefinite detention with no formal charges or
judicial proceedings might arise from the habeas corpus provision of the
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states, “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.” Under this
provision, persons detained by the government are entitled to a judicial hearing
to determine if there is any legal basis for their detention. Some legal
commentators refer to the right of habeas corpus as the “great writ of liberty”
because it is a prisoner’s ultimate recourse to an impartial judge who can
review the possibility that he is being held illegally by the executive (e.g.,
the police or the military). In nations that do not honor habeas corpus, people
simply disappear into prisons without ever having their day in court.
Several controversial Supreme Court cases have come out of Gitmo. One
fundamental question that has been debated, but not clearly resolved, is to what
extent the war on terror justifies the President’s indefinite detention of enemy
combatants without the possibility of the minimal judicial review protected by
habeas corpus? Another issue in the debate is to what extent Congress must
clearly authorize the President to conduct extra-judicial detentions in order
for them to be legal? In 2008, the Supreme Court’s decision in Boumediene v.
Bush offered some answers to these questions. However, the deeply divided
5-4 Court and the likelihood of the protracted nature of the war on terror
suggest that debate around these important questions will continue. Writing the
Final Paper in this course will prepare you to participate intelligently as a
citizen in this ongoing debate.
Write an essay about the right of habeas
corpus in the context of the war on terror. Your essay should address the
- Explain the historical evolution of habeas corpus, including
its English and American traditions. The explanation of its evolution within the
American tradition should include the general meaning of the right of habeas
corpus in the U.S. Constitution and its relationship to the protection of other
- Provide examples from U.S. history of the suspension of habeas
corpus and their applicability to the present.
- Analyze the relevance of habeas corpus to the contemporary U.S.
situation during the war on terror, especially with respect to persons
characterized by as enemy combatants or illegal combatants.
- Explain the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the right of
habeas corpus with respect to enemy combatants or illegal combatants (i.e., the
views of the five justices making up the majority in Boumediene v. Bush
as well as the views of the four dissenting justices).
- Evaluate a minimum of four perspectives on this topic expressed
by justices of the Supreme Court, leaders in other branches of government, and
commentators in both the academic and popular media. Your evaluation should
consider perspectives on the following topics as they relate to habeas corpus:
- The role of the President as Commander-in-Chief.
- The role of Congress in determining when habeas corpus can be
- The role of the Supreme Court in protecting civil liberties,
including the judicial philosophy which should guide the Court in this role, and
- In your evaluation, you should also include your personal
philosophy, values, or ideology about the balance between civil liberties and
national security in the context of an unending war on terror.
Follow these requirements when writing the
- The body of the paper (excluding the title page and reference
page) must be at least 1,500 words long.
- The paper must start with a short introductory paragraph which
includes a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement must tell readers what
the essay will demonstrate.
- The paper must end with a short paragraph that states a
conclusion. The conclusion and thesis must be consistent.
- The paper must logically develop the thesis in a way that leads
to the conclusion, and that development must be supported by facts, fully
explained concepts and assertions, and persuasive reasoning.
- The paper must address all subtopics outlined above. At least
20% of the essay must focus on subtopic five, listed above (your evaluation of
perspectives on the topic).
- Your paper must cite at least three academic articles
(excluding the course textbook) and at least four other kinds of sources (e.g.,
Supreme Court opinions, magazine or newspaper articles, the course textbook, and
reliable websites or videos).
- Use your own words. While brief quotes from sources may be
used, altogether the total amount of quoted text must be less than five percent
of the body of your paper.
- When you use someone else’s words, they must be enclosed in
quotation marks followed by an APA in-text short citation (author, year, and
page) to your source. The in-text citation must correspond to a full APA
citation for the source on the reference page at the end of the essay.
- When you express in your own words someone else’s ideas,
arguments or facts, your statement must be followed by an APA in-text short
citation (author, year, and page) to your source. The in-text citation must
correspond to a full APA citation for the source in the reference page.
- The form of the title page, the body pages, and the reference
page must comply with APA style. Additionally, the title page must include the
course number and name, the instructor’s name, and the date submitted.
- The paper must use logical paragraph and sentence transitions,
complete and clear sentences, and correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
For this paper you need to do research in
peer-reviewed journals or other sources that are considered to have reliable
information. In addition to your required course text, you need at least seven
scholarly sources, three of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles from
the Ashford Online Library.
Academic research papers must meet university level standards of
quality. What constitutes quality, academic research?
- Primary sources written by experts in the field of study
- Secondary sources supported by research in primary sources
- Credible sources (experts in the area of study)
- Relevant research (materials are pertinent to the area of
- Peer-reviewed journal articles (journal articles reviewed by
recognized experts in the relevant field of study).
- Educational and government websites (those ending with a web
URL suffix of .edu or .gov) may be appropriate in some cases but should be
Please visit the Academic
Research section on your course homepage (accessible through the Student
Responsibilities and Policies tab on the left navigation toolbar) to review what
types of materials are not acceptable for academic, university level
The paper must be at least 1,500 words in length and formatted
according to APA style. Cite your sources within the text of your paper and on
the reference page.