Habeas Corpus Historical Suspensions

Habeas corpus suspensions are made by presidents who wish to enforce another law that is undermined by the active Habeas Corpus legal action. That is the case in the 2006 suspension of Habeas Corpus made by American president George Bush. President Bush suspended the habeas corpus law by eliminating the right of enemy combatants to question their captivity. Persons who were determined by the United States as being guilty of siding with the enemy in the global war against terror were not allowed to petition a habeas corpus act.

The legal name of Bush's habeas corpus suspension was 'Military Commissions Act of 2006'. This act was not the first act in American history of habeas corpus suspension. The first habeas corpus suspension happened in the very beginnings the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln was the first American president to ever suspend the habeas corpus law. These presidents were the target of criticism for their decisions which were seen as attacks on the Constitution of the United States.

President Lincoln 1861 habeas corpus suspension was based on the fact that war prisoners that were captured during the American Civil War didn't have the right to question their captivity. After the war ended in 1866, the American Supreme Court restored the right to habeas corpus throughout the country. Military trials were reserved only for military personnel, while civilian courts were restored with the right to receive habeas corpus petitions.

The 2006 habeas corpus suspension is similar to that of the Lincoln era. The suspension grants the president of the USA with the authority to decide who is an unlawful enemy combatant in the global war against terror. Also, enemy combatants are not allowed to represent themselves in court or to have a third party representing them, which is the essential procedure of a habeas corpus act.