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“No graver question was ever considered by this court, nor one which more nearly concerns the rights of the whole people, for it is the birthright of every American citizen when charged with crime to be tried and punished according to law. The power of punishment is alone through the means which the laws have provided for that purpose, and, if they are ineffectual, there is an immunity from punishment, no matter how great an offender the individual may be or how much his crimes may have shocked the sense of justice of the country or endangered its safety. By the protection of the law, human rights are secured; withdraw that protection and they are at the mercy of wicked rulers or the clamor of an excited people.”

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WHO? Justice DAVIS, U.S. Supreme Court justice, writing in the 1866 ruling (Ex parte Milligan) that restored habeas corpus after Abraham Lincoln suspended it in 1861/1862.

AND? Let’s see if it takes 4 years for the current law revoking habeas corpus to also be thrown out.

posted at 12:23 am
on Oct. 26, 2006

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