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Martin v. Mott 12 Wheaton 19 (1827)

MARTIN v. MOTT 12 Wheaton 19 (1827)

Mott, having avoided militia duty during the War of 1812, was fined by a court-martial. The Constitution authorized Congress to call forth the militia, and President james madison, under congressional authority, had called upon the state militias for military service. Several states, which opposed the war, obstructed compliance, arguing that the national government had no authority to determine when the state militias could be called or to subject them to federal governance. Mott relied on such arguments. The Court unanimously held, in an opinion by Justice joseph story, that the President, with congressional authorization, had exclusive power to decide when and under what exigencies the militia might be called to duty, and that his decision not only binds the states but places their militias under the control of officers appointed by the President.

Leonard W. Levy

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