Friday, August 10, 2007

Ex parte Milligan and the "Patriot" Act

These wiki articles can be tampered with, and has been, so proceed with caution.

Ex parte Milligan at

Ex parte Milligan
From Wikipedia

Background of the case
Lambdin P. Milligan and four others were accused of planning to steal Union weapons and invade Union prisoner-of-war camps. Once the first prisoner of war camp was liberated they planned to use the liberated soldiers to help fight against the Government of Indiana and free other camps of Confederate soldiers. The plan was leaked and went to court, while in court they were sentenced to hang by a military court in 1864. However, their execution was not set until May 1865, so they were able to argue the case after the Civil War ended. Milligan also attempted to take over the state governments of Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan.

The Court's decision
The Supreme Court decided that the suspension of
habeas corpus was lawful, but military tribunals did not apply to citizens in states that had upheld the authority of the Constitution and where civilian courts were still operating, and the Constitution of the United States provided for suspension of habeas corpus only if these courts are actually forced closed. In essence, the Court ruled that military tribunals could not try civilians in areas where civil courts were open, even during times of war.

It observed further that during the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, citizens may be only held without charges, not tried, and certainly not executed by military tribunals. After all, the writ of habeas corpus is not the right itself but merely the ability to issue orders demanding the right's enforcement.

It is important to note the political environment of the decision. Post-war, under a Republican Congress, the Court was reluctant to hand down any decision that questioned the legitimacy of military courts, especially in the occupied South. The President's ability to suspend habeas corpus independently of Congress, a central issue, was left unaddressed. That not withstanding, military jurisdiction had been limited.

See Also
Supreme Court cases of the American Civil War
List of United States Supreme Court cases
Ex Parte Merryman
Ex parte Quirin
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld

External links
Full text of the decision courtesy of
Historical analysis of the case - Elisheva Ruth Coleman Princeton University senior thesis
Retrieved from ""

Neocon sheeple: does this, in any way, give you pause in light of "Patriot" Act and other such euphemistically titled tyrannical decrees?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Phrase Search / Concordance
Words/Phrase To Search For
(e.g. Jesus faith love, or God of my salvation, or believ* ever*)
Book Chapter Verse Range
All Verses
Or Start: End:
Show Strongs Numbers:
Enter a
Strong's Number
e.g. 2424 Greek