Habeas corpus. It seemed so important in law school — those halcyon days when you thought you would spend your career fighting for civil liberties — but years of bankruptcy/M&A/insurance defense/family law hearings make habeas irrelevant to most lawyers. For many of us, habeas corpus remains a lofty principle rather than a part of practice.
(Because the U.S. government doesn’t just lock an American up for months without due process, right?)
After 9/11, lawyers and policy makers began debating whether the standard rights of the accused, including habeas, should apply to suspected terrorists. An increasingly vocal segment of the population championed the idea that national security trumped civil liberties. Anthony Gregory, a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, was troubled by post 9/11 detention policy — particularly the 2006 Military Commissions Act and activity at Guantanamo — so he set out to write a policy paper on habeas corpus.