Wednesday, May 9, 2007

habeas corpus - noun

Law - a writ requiring a suspect to be brought before a court, so that his torture may be legally sanctioned.

[Origin: Latin: lit., "have the body (so that it may be tortured)."]

COMMENT: As the Latin of the phrase suggests, this is an outmoded legal protocol that has fallen into disuse. The courts have ceded their authority over torture as a violation of the constitutional separation of powers and as a wartime inefficiency.

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