The debate for September 2001 is:
Should civil liberties in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere be suspended in order that the terrorists responsible for the attacks on the United States can be severely dealt with?
If a possible terrorist is being wrongfully searched should criminal law lawyers still work hard to assert that person's constitutional rights?
Should we temporarily give up the Charter of Rights or the Americans give up their Bill of Rights?
Should a person who acts outside the rules of civilized society still be afforded the normal protections of the criminal justice system?
What did St. Thomas More (in Robert Bolt's play A Man for All Seasons) say about giving up the protection of the law to go after the devil?
My American colleagues tell me that "the writ of habeas corpus can not be suspended except in times of war. This means anyone who is taken (whether arrested, held , detained or any other word) has no right to petition any court for release or rationale of why they are held." If the US is holding people for questioning without charging them after they have been taken away by SWAT teams at gunpoint, that the United States already considers that they are at war and that the writ of habeas corpus is suspended?
According to Robert Bolt's play "A Man for All Seasons" Thomas More believed that even if you were trying to bring the Devil to justice you should give him the benefit of due process. Isn't this going too far?
Copyright 2018 Stephen Biss
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