Habeas corpus was once a broad writ of liberty: it served to give meaning to expanding notions of due process, it forced state judicial systems to obey constitutional commands, and it made effective modern conceptions of fundamental fairness. Although a simple implement of humble origin, U.S. habeas corpus became inextricably interwoven with the substantive rights it enforced. Without a practical remedy, cutting across state boundaries and affording uniform access, the substantive rights themselves lose meaning. A right without remedy is a right without meaning. Thus, habeas corpus became an important part of the substantive rights that it enforced.
Alan W. Clarke,
Procedural Labyrinths and the Injustice of Death: A Critique of Death Penalty Habeas Corpus (Part One),
U. Rich. L. Rev.
Available at: http://scholarship.richmond.edu/lawreview/vol29/iss5/3