Habeas Schmabeas

Chris Sullentrop at the New York Times blog Opinionator (sub req’d) writes:

In case anyone was still on the fence on the subject, it’s abundantly clear that, at long last, [the United States Attorney General] Alberto Gonzales has no sense of decency: “Alberto Gonzales in testimony several days ago before the Senate Judiciary Committee denied that the Constitution gave American citizens the right to habeas corpus,” writes Yale English professor David Bromwich at Open University, The New Republic’s group academic blog. “The story was overlooked by most of the mainstream news outlets, perhaps on the theory that no exorbitant statement by Gonzales is news any longer.

Habeas corpus — the right to challenge one’s detention in court — has been a central feature of Anglo-American jurisprudence since the barons forced King John to sign Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215 (if not earlier; Wikipedia dates habeas corpus to the previous century). Even Sullentrop doesn’t seem to find this questioning of eight centuries of jurisprudence all that noteworthy; this was the bottom of three items under a “worth a click” heading.

It is quite remarkable what is unremarkable these days.