The final assignment for this course is a Final Paper. The
purpose of the Final Paper is to give you an opportunity to apply much of what
you have learned about American national government to an examination of civil
liberties in the context of the war on terror. The Final Paper represents 20%
of the overall course grade.
Soon after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the
Bush administration developed a plan for holding and interrogating captured prisoners.
They were sent to a prison inside a U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, on land
leased from the government of Cuba. Since 2002, over 700 men have been detained
at Gitmo. Most have been released without charges or turned over to other
governments. In 2011, Congress specifically prohibited the expenditure of funds
to transfer Gitmo prisoners to detention facilities in the continental United
States, making it virtually impossible to try them in civilian courts. As of
April 2012, 169 remained in detention at Gitmo (Sutton, 2012).
An assumption made by the Bush administration in selecting
this location was that it was beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. The
administration wanted to avoid any judicial oversight of how it handled
detainees, characterized as enemy combatants. A possible legal challenge to
indefinite detention with no formal charges or judicial proceedings might arise
from the habeas corpus provision of the Constitution.
Article I, Section 9 of the Constitution states, "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." Under
this provision, persons detained by the government are entitled to a judicial
hearing to determine if there is any legal basis for their detention. Some
legal commentators refer to the right of habeas corpus as the "great writ
of liberty" because it is a prisoner's ultimate recourse to an impartial
judge who can review the possibility that he is being held illegally by the
executive (e.g., the police or the military). In nations that do not honor
habeas corpus, people simply disappear into prisons without ever having their
day in court.
Several controversial Supreme Court cases have come out of
Gitmo. One fundamental question that has been debated, but not clearly
resolved, is to what extent the war on terror justifies the President's
indefinite detention of enemy combatants without the possibility of the minimal
judicial review protected by habeas corpus? Another issue in the debate is to
what extent Congress must clearly authorize the President to conduct
extra-judicial detentions in order for them to be legal? In 2008, the Supreme
Court’s decision in Boumediene v. Bush offered some answers to these questions.
However, the deeply divided 5-4 Court and the likelihood of the protracted
nature of the war on terror suggest that debate around these important
questions will continue. Writing the Final Paper in this course will prepare
you to participate intelligently as a citizen in this ongoing debate.
Write an essay about the right of habeas corpus in the
context of the war on terror. Your essay should address the following
Explain the historical evolution of habeas corpus, including
its English and American traditions. The explanation of its evolution within
the American tradition should include the general meaning of the right of
habeas corpus in the U.S. Constitution and its relationship to the protection
of other civil liberties.
Provide examples from U.S. history of the suspension of
habeas corpus and their applicability to the present.
Analyze the relevance of habeas corpus to the contemporary
U.S. situation during the war on terror, especially with respect to persons
characterized by as enemy combatants or illegal combatants.
Explain the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the right
of habeas corpus with respect to enemy combatants or illegal combatants (i.e.,
the views of the five justices making up the majority in Boumediene v. Bush as
well as the views of the four dissenting justices).
Evaluate a minimum of four perspectives on this topic
expressed by justices of the Supreme Court, leaders in other branches of
government, and commentators in both the academic and popular media. Your
evaluation should consider perspectives on the following topics as they relate
to habeas corpus:
The role of the President as Commander-in-Chief.
The role of Congress in determining when habeas corpus can
The role of the Supreme Court in protecting civil liberties,
including the judicial philosophy which should guide the Court in this role,
In your evaluation, you should also include your personal
philosophy, values, or ideology about the balance between civil liberties and
national security in the context of an unending war on terror.
Follow these requirements when writing the Final Paper:
The body of the paper (excluding the title page and
reference page) must be at least 1,500 words long.
The paper must start with a short introductory paragraph
which includes a clear thesis statement. The thesis statement must tell readers
what the essay will demonstrate.
The paper must end with a short paragraph that states a
conclusion. The conclusion and thesis must be consistent.
The paper must logically develop the thesis in a way that
leads to the conclusion, and that development must be supported by facts, fully
explained concepts and assertions, and persuasive reasoning.
The paper must address all subtopics outlined above. At
least 20% of the essay must focus on subtopic six, listed above (your evaluation
of perspectives on the topic).
Your paper must cite at least three academic articles
(excluding the course textbook) and at least four other kinds of sources (e.g.,
Supreme Court opinions, magazine or newspaper articles, the course textbook,
and reliable websites or videos).
Use your own words. While brief quotes from sources may be
used, altogether the total amount of quoted text must be less than five percent
of the body of your paper.
When you use someone else's words, they must be enclosed in
quotation marks followed by an APA in-text short citation (author, year, and
page) to your source. The in-text citation must correspond to a full APA
citation for the source on the reference page at the end of the essay.
When you express in your own words someone else's ideas,
arguments or facts, your statement must be followed by an APA in-text short
citation (author, year, and page) to your source. The in-text citation must
correspond to a full APA citation for the source in the reference page.
The form of the title page, the body pages, and the
reference page must comply with APA style. Additionally, the title page must
include the course number and name, the instructor's name, and the date
The paper must use logical paragraph and sentence
transitions, complete and clear sentences, and correct grammar, spelling, and
For this paper you need to do research in peer-reviewed
journals or other sources that are considered to have reliable information. In
addition to your required course text, you need at least seven scholarly
sources, three of which must be peer-reviewed journal articles from the Ashford
Academic research papers must meet university level
standards of quality. What constitutes quality, academic research?
Primary sources written by experts in the field of study
Secondary sources supported by research in primary sources
Credible sources (experts in the area of study)
Relevant research (materials are pertinent to the area of
Peer-reviewed journal articles (journal articles reviewed by
recognized experts in the relevant field of study).
Educational and government websites (those ending with a web
URL suffix of .edu or .gov) may be appropriate in some cases but should be
Please visit the Academic Research section on your course
homepage (accessible through the Student Responsibilities and Policies tab on
the left navigation toolbar) to review what types of materials are not
acceptable for academic, university level research.
The paper must be at least 1,500 words in length and
formatted according to APA style. Cite your sources within the text of your
paper and on the reference page. For information regarding APA, including
samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center within the Learning
Resources tab on the left navigation toolbar