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Chief Justice Taney finds against martial law and orders the release of John Merryman

Roger Brooke Taney, detail
05/28/1861
John Merryman, a southern sympathizer, has been arrested on suspicion of leading a secessionist company operating in Maryland. Taney, sitting in U.S. District Court, ssue a writ of habeas corpus directing General Cadwalader to bring Marryman before him, but Calwalader refuses to comply, stating that since Lincoln has declared martial law, he only needs to produce the prisoner if Lincoln so directs him. Taney finds that, first, the President cannot constitutionally suspend the right to habeas corpus and that second, all prisoners not subject to the rules of war must be turned over to the civil authorities.   (By Joanne Williams)
Source Citation: 
Carol Swisher, Roger B. Taney, (New York: The Macmillan Company, 1935); 550-552.

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How to Cite This Page: "Chief Justice Taney finds against martial law and orders the release of John Merryman," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/14324.