The US constitution states that habeas corpus "shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it".
Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in two potential landmark cases examining the constitutionality of how we detain and treat terror suspects held at the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, prison camp. These are the most anticipated cases of the year, and they go to the heart of what we stand for as a nation.
The key issue is whether the detainees have a right to challenge the legality of their detention before a neutral judge. That is, whether habeas corpus, a cornerstone of our governmental system which allows people to challenge their detention, can be suspended because the government simply says so.
Habeas corpus is the most basic guarantee of individual freedom. Now we’ll get a chance to see whether these nine judges will change that.