On Rebellion By The Majority And Writs Against The People
"An act for the better securing the liberty of the subject, and for prevention of imprisonments beyond the seas."
Habeas Corpus Act, 1679
"Habeas corpus "shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Regarding Habeas Corpus – i.e., the body of evidence - it is strange that our Constitution contains the clause that habeas corpus "shall not be suspended unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."
Invasion from an external enemy we can understand, but rebellion? Public safety? The meanings here are dangerously vague, and too easily abused and applied to situations not warranting the draconian response.
Rebellion by whom? For what? Is it a rebellion by the vast majority? Was not our own rebellion in 1776 the very movement that led to the re-vitalization of habeas corpus and the defeat of the divine right of Kings and the arbitrary power of Regency?
In effect, does this exception condemn the people from ever re-taking their own government from ruling elites - all due to the fact a very small minority of people currently in power can suspend our rights, imprison us, and defeat reforms supported by the vast majority?
Is this "rebellion" exception a good idea? Did the founders screw up on this one, particularly in view of their own rebellion against the British? Did they simply copy the language of the British act without adequate forethought about any applications of the "Great Writ" to future conditions in America?
"Habeas Corpus is an ancient common law prerogative writ - a legal procedure to which you have an undeniable right. It is an extraordinary remedy at law. Upon proper application, or even on naked knowledge alone, a court is empowered, and is duty bound, to issue the Extraordinary Writ of Habeas Corpus commanding one who is restraining liberty to forthwith produce before the court the person who is in custody and to show cause why the liberty of that person is being restrained. Absent a sufficient showing for a proper restraint of liberty, the court is duty bound to order the restraint eliminated and the person discharged. Habeas Corpus is fundamental to American and all other English common law derivative systems of jurisprudence. It is the ultimate lawful and peaceable remedy for adjudicating the providence of liberty’s restraint. Since the history of Habeas Corpus is predominately English we must visit that history to gain understanding of American use of Habeas Corpus. "
Joseph Dale Robertson
Habeas corpus is simply a writ issued to bring a party before a court to prevent unlawful restraint. The premise is that you cannot be held against your will without some just cause. In short, you cannot be jailed if there are no charges against you. If you are being held, and you demand it, the courts must issue a writ of habeas corpus, which forces those holding you to answer as to why. If there is no good or compelling reason, the court must set you free.
It is our right, from our Bill of Rights. The importance of habeas corpus is illustrated by the fact that it was the sole liberty thought important enough to be included in the original text of the Constitution.
In any case, surely the safety of the people can be provided for by the military and police forces respectively, countering invasions and keeping demonstrations from becoming violent if need be. But suspending habeas corpus for domestic "rebellion" is another matter entirely.