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Habeas Corpus – it holds mystique as the greatest anglo-american legal protection. The federal government has held it in pretty low regard over the years – from Japanese internment camps to guantanamo bay and now the NDAA. Anthony Gregory joins us this week to talk about the Writ’s role in the power struggle between the federal government and the states. He also discusses the proper scope of federal habeas for state prisoners and for wartime detainees from the Civil War and World War II to the modern War on Terror.

Anthony Gregory is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the forthcoming book the Power of Habeas Corpus in America from Cambridge University Press. He’s written for Huffington Post, the American Conservative,, the Future of Freedom Foundation, and


Boldin quotes Thomas Jefferson: “I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.”

“The struggle between centralization and decentralization is at the core of American history.” – Anthony Gregory

“…the power of state courts to use habeas corpus to determine whether federal detentions are legitimate.” – Anthony Gregory

“The state would be able to claim jurisdiction over its own citizens, or if the imprisonment was happening within its own state … by claiming jurisdiction over the actors being involved.” – Anthony Gregory

“Today most habeas involves the federal courts overriding state convictions…where it used to be mostly the reverse.” – Anthony Gregory

“As the nation-state has monopolized habeas corpus … on balance we have far more people in prison, federal and state, than ever.” – Anthony Gregory


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