I think habeas corpus is a core centrist issue. It should be the foundation of any discussion about the law, the basis on which the center can bring together left and right. Habeas corpus was suspended by the previous administration to deal with the post-9/11 emergency, and has been restored by the current administration.
Some people argue that habeas corpus is a right of citizens, but does not apply to anyone else we capture and call an enemy. Some even want to strip citizens of their legal rights if the government calls them an enemy.
Last night I got to ask the Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court something that has been bothering me: is habeas corpus a fundamental human right, or a right granted by the state that applies only to citizens? Justice Minton had no better answer than I did; fundamental human rights is not an issue that state courts rule on. But the discussion led in interesting directions afterwards.
On the one hand, I think that suspending habeas corpus is about the most dangerous habit any government could get in to. If the government can imprison anyone without even a chance to establish their right to a charge and a trial, the rule of law is destroyed. On the other hand, I am reluctant to declare that there is such a thing as a fundamental human right, absent an authoritative body to make it stick. Rights are rights against the state, and ultimately the state or a state-like body (like the International Criminal Court in the Hague) has to enforce rights to make them real.
Mrs. G., who is a lawyer, suggested a helpful middle position: habeas corpus has been a state-made right that applies to all English-descended states since Magna Carta, which applies to all people within that state. This means all the people under the hand of American law, whether citizens or not, have a right to habeas corpus. This seems to me a sensible position - not simply at the whim of the current government, but not unrealistically universal.