"The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended,
unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." United States Constitution, Article One, Section Nine.
Habeas Corpus, although described by an esoteric sounding Latin phrase, is the
crucial starting point for liberty under the law. It allows someone
imprisoned by the government to demand that the government explain to
a judge the reason for imprisonment. Without it, government may
imprison a person and throw away the key, with no accountability
whatsoever. President Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the
civil war, which was a case of rebellion, was ruled unconstitutional,
and is widely regarded as a blemish on his record. The current United
States government has denied the privilege of habeas corpus
at a time when there is no rebellion and no invasion of the US.