The Great Writ

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
WED 5:45 - 7:35 pm TNH 3.125

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Final exam May 14, 2019 8:30 am A-Z in 2.124


In reviewing the Habeas Corpus Act of 1679, William Blackstone concluded that “the remedy is now complete.”  But that hasn't stopped the habeas remedy from evolving.  Blackstone’s writ of habeas corpus ad subjiciendum bears little resemblance to the one that individuals routinely seek in federal courts today.  This course will explore the history of the Great Writ and its evolution from the common law demand that a “gaoler” bring a prisoner before a court into the modern habeas doctrines that implicate broad and complex questions of constitutional and statutory law.  Along the way, we will cover the Suspension Clause, executive detention in wartime, the law of immigration and deportation, and collateral attacks on criminal judgments.  The habeas writ poses important structural questions about the balance of power between the federal branches and between the federal and state courts.  But it’s practical too:  This course should prove valuable to students planning to clerk on the federal courts or planning to work in criminal prosecution, capital defense, national security, or immigration.  Grades will be based on a final exam.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

Federal Habeas Corpus: Executive Detention and Post-Conviction Litigation *
Brandon L. Garrett & Lee Kovarsky
Foundation Press , edition: 1st
ISBN: 978-1609301880


Headshot of Ezell, Trevor W Ezell, Trevor W
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Important Class Changes

Date Updated
06/13/2019 Exam information updated
Instructor(s) updated