Does the Constitution Mean What it Says?

by Andrew P. Napolitano

“No person … shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” — Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Abdulsalam al-Hela is a 53-year-old Yemeni cleric who has been incarcerated by the United States at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station in Cuba since 2004. He has not been charged with any crime. His case has a long and complex legal history, but it is instructive to all who believe that the Constitution means what it says.

Hela is represented by competent counsel who have filed numerous petitions in his behalf asking the courts to compel the government to comply with the Constitution and justify his confinement. The underlying constitutional principles here are due process and habeas corpus. The obligations of complying with both are imposed upon the federal government by the Constitution.

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