Sunday, January 18, 2004
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Guantanamo and The King

In an amicus curiae brief, a group of military lawyers argue that the government's claim to try "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo, without recourse to the courts, is identical to one of the reasons the United States rebelled against King George III:

"The colonists who wrote our Declaration of Independence penned, among their charges against King George, that "[h]e has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power"; "depriv[ed] us

Salon has excerpts from the brief.

so far as Amicus is aware, the American Government has never before consciously created a trial process, courtroom, and other accoutrements of judicial process outside the battlefield and housed them all in an area calculated to divest civilian jurisdiction.
The most direct precedent comes from 1660s England, where Lord Clarendon shipped prisoners to military "garrisons" to evade habeas corpus. Clarendon's actions, which became part of his impeachment trial, were rebuked by Parliament's 1679 Habeas Corpus Act, and form a crucial event in the development of the writ [of habeas corpus] .