Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not big on my birthday.
Many years, I forget it entirely.
So, don’t expect a big birthday speech.
But, every so often, I think of a birthday that is hard to forget.
It’s April 24th, 1996, when the President of the United States signed into law an act known as the AEDPA (or Anti-terrorism Effective Death Penalty Act), which transformed habeas corpus from its previous 700 years of Anglo-American history.
The law severely limited, restricted and denied federal habeas corpus to people who would’ve been entitled to it before the act.
I remember my lawyers mentioning it, but frankly, I couldn’t believe it.
Wait a minute. The government’s changing a law? Habeas corpus? For me?
“Y’all trippin’ “, I said.
But they weren’t. In a way, I was.
Is that just coincidence?
At a press conference, my name came up, and (former) PA Governor Edward G. Rendell said as much.
But why should I be surprised? Hadn’t every court ignored its own precedents in my case?
The law, it seems, is only politics by other means.
We must build a movement that frees us all from such a system.
I won’t say, ‘Happy Birthday’–.
I’ll only say, Ona Move!
Freedom for All!