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Civil Liberties, Habeas Corpus, and the War on Terror
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. The Final Paper
represents 20% of the overall course grade.
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 Constitution.
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 following subtopics: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 civil liberties. 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 suspended. 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 Final Paper: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 study) 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 evaluated carefully.
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 research.
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. For information regarding APA, including samples and
tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center within the Learning
Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar.

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