For hundreds of years, scholars have argued on multiple sides about what the Great Writ has "always meant," what its limits "always were," and how its more technical elements should clearly be interpreted in light of real-world circumstances, statutes, and court decisions going back centuries.
That the history of the Great Writ is far from a clean linear progression toward an effective remedy against tyrannical imprisonment is clear.
Constructing such a narrow case is fine fodder for skilled criminal defense attorneys, and we should certainly not disparage them for their attempts to do what is necessary for their clients, but it would be a sad fate for the Great Writ if its last chapter were simply the tale of a writ reduced to technicalities and loopholes.
We have the Great Writ because we didn't trust the executive branch when we founded this government.
1293, 1299 (1996) ("Dismissal of a first federal habeas petition is a particularly serious matter, for that dismissal denies the petitioner the protections of the Great Writ
entirely, risking injury to an important interest in human liberty.