Quirin, Ex Parte 317 U.S. 1 (1942)

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QUIRIN, EX PARTE 317 U.S. 1 (1942)

In 1942 President franklin d. roosevelt issued a proclamation subjecting enemies entering the United States through the coastal defense zones to trial by military tribunal and denying them access to the civil courts. Seven German saboteurs, who had been set ashore in the United States from submarines and who had subsequently been captured, were tried under the terms of the proclamation. The saboteurs petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus, arguing that, so long as the regular courts were open and operating, they were entitled to trial by jury, and citing as precedent the civil war case ex parte milligan.

The Supreme Court, then in summer recess, met in extraordinary session to hear the petition. An 8–0 Court, speaking through Chief Justice harlan f. stone, upheld the constitutionality of military trial for offenses against the law of war. But the Court also insisted upon the right of the civil courts to review the constitutionality or applicability of Roosevelt's proclamation in individual cases.

Dennis J. Mahoney

(see also: Cramer v. United States; Haupt v. United States.)


Belknap, Michal R. 1980 The Supreme Court Goes to War: The Meaning and Implications of the Nazi Saboteur Case. Military Law Review 89:59–95.