View single post by Shadowrebel
 Posted: Sat Jul 29th, 2006 03:20 am
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Joined: Tue Sep 13th, 2005
Location: Old Forge, Pennsylvania USA
Posts: 71

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Thank you for your reply.

Indy wrote:

Only Congress may suspend the writ of habeas corpus.

  • This was not so much an argued point, nor something presented as a new interpretation, as it was a matter-of-fact observation made by Chief Justice John Marshall. This principle would be much more hotly debated in the later Supreme Court Cases of the American Civil War, which centered around wartime civil liberties and the ability of the various branches of government to control them.
To me, a matter-of-fact observation means just that. That it can't be construed as official precedent. And if it was just the Chief Justice expressing an opinion, without input from the other justices, it holds even less water.

As it this ruling was mention to conjunction to the Taney ruling ex parte Merryman the important part of the SCOTUS opinion is that Congress can suspend Writ of Habeas Corpus. Here is the what the court decided also from Wikipedia.

Full case name:
Ex parte Erick Bollman, decided with Ex parte Samuel Swartwout

8 U.S. 75; 2 L. Ed. 554; 1807 U.S. LEXIS 369; 4 Cranch 75

Prior history:
Defendants charged with treason and imprisoned, U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia

Subsequent history:


The Supreme Court had the power to order that a writ of habeas corpus be issued to release the petitioners from prison, because the Constitution grants that power to federal courts unless Congress suspends it. The petitioners' alleged conspiracy did not rise to the level of treason as defined by the Constitution.

Court membership

Chief Justice John Marshall

Associate Justices William Cushing, Samuel Chase, Bushrod Washington, William Johnson, Henry Livingston

Case opinions

Majority by: Marshall

Joined by: Cushing, Chase, Washington, Livingston

Dissent by: Johnson

Laws applied

U.S. Const. Art. I, III, Amend. IV, VI; Judiciary Act of 1789

The Marshall opinion is not a court opinion, however the opinion of the court above clearly state Congress can suspend Habeas, no mention of the President having the right to do it is in the decision. The other cases mentioned on the site have nothing, that I can find, to do with suspension of Habeas. I agree that if Marshall's opinion was the only mention regarding this case of only Congress having the right to suspend it would not mean much if anything, however since the case states Congress can suspend it , IMO, supports the Taney decision. Do you think Lincoln had the legal right to suspend Habeas in Maryland?

Indy wrote:

 I think we'll have to agree to disagree about a lot of things, Lincoln included, but I won't stop in trying to persuade you the other way. ;)

On the other hand you may find yourself coming over to this way.:D

If you at thought I was a loss causer then I feel that I accomplished showing Jessie what some of the Southern bitterness is about, which was my purpose of posting on this thread.

Have a great weekend.

Shadowrebel (John)

Last edited on Sat Jul 29th, 2006 03:24 am by Shadowrebel

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