Form and Function in the Administration of Justice: The Bill of Rights and Federal Habeas Corpus

Part I critiques the Report’s insistence that accurate fact finding exhausts, or nearly exhausts, the objectives of criminal justice, identifies the fundamental role of the Bill of Rights in the American political order, and situates federal habeas corpus within that framework. Part II traces the Report’s historical review of the federal habeas jurisdiction and critiques the Report’s too-convenient reliance on selected materials that, on examination, fail to undermine conventional understandings of the writ’s development as a postconviction remedy. Part III responds to the Report’s complaints regarding current habeas corpus practice and refutes contentions that the habeas jurisdiction overburdens federal dockets with stale claims. Part IV takes up recent Supreme Court decisions in the field, identifies the vision of criminal process they appear to sponsor, and contests the notion that they support the OLP’s approach to habeas corpus.