The Body of John Merryman: Ex Parte Merryman, a Case of Executive-Judicial Conflict over the Suspension of Habeas Corpus
Date of Degree Completion
Master of Arts (MA)
Kent D. Richards
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Lawrence L. Lowther
At the outbreak of the Civil War the Federal military arrested certain people whose loyalty was suspect. One victim, John Merryman, attempted to free himself by petitioning for a writ of habeas corpus. However, President Lincoln authorized the military to suspend the writ in such cases. The matter came before Chief Justice Taney who disputed the president's authority to suspend the writ and ruled in Merryman's favor. This thesis recounts the history of the habeas corpus process in Anglo-American law and its inclusion in the Constitution, Merryman's role in the first hostilities, his arrest, and the attempt to free him. Also discussed are associated topics and events, the positions of the president and the chief justice in their conflict over the matter, and the implications of this constitutional crisis.
Anderson, Eric Paul, "The Body of John Merryman: Ex Parte Merryman, a Case of Executive-Judicial Conflict over the Suspension of Habeas Corpus" (1979). All Master's Theses. 1766.
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