Anthony Gregory portrays the history of the writ of habeas corpus—the legal proceeding whereby a prisoner seeks release from government‐enforced confinement—as a complex and conflicted one. Challenging the prevailing view, Gregory argues that habeas has often been rendered “impotent” by government manipulation (p. 5) and even becomes, at times, a tool for increasing government power. These consequences stem from the writ’s dual nature. “It is a tool known for its service of liberty,” he says, “yet at its core it entails an authoritarian element” (p. 4). Habeas corpus amounts to an order by a government actor commanding another government actor to bring forth a prisoner. Thus, it has been subject to political forces.
Developments in the writ’s history illustrate this paradox. For example, the 1679 Habeas Corpus Act resulted from an intragovernmental power struggle. In antebellum America, habeas corpus petitions were filed to recover fugitive slaves as well as to free slaves and abolitionists. In Ableman v. Booth (1859), proslavery Chief Justice Roger Taney ruled that state courts could not interfere, via habeas actions, with the process of recapturing slaves (p. 89). Another example that Gregory provides is the Warren court’s crim
To continue reading, see options above.
The Politics of Prisoner Abuse: The United States and Enemy Prisoners after 9/11, David P. Forsythe Reviewed by ROBERT PALLITTO
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
The Powell Doctrine
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PERSPECTIVES ON PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, 1992–2020
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.