The Magna Carta Goes on Sale

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As the White House, Congress and US Supreme Court debate the rights of prisoners during the so-called "war on terror," an original copy of the document that established such rights is going on sale in New York City. The Magna Carta, signed in the 13th Century by the King of England, established the right to a speedy trial by a jury of one's peers, no taxation without representation and habeas corpus—which protects against unlawful imprisonment. Seventeen original copies have survived for 700 years, and all the others are publicly owned. How important is it? How rare is it? What's the asking price? What's the relevance of a 700 year-old sheet of animal-skin vellum to the rule of law in the modern world?




Warren Olney