New York Times, “The Habeas Corpus Case,” June 4, 1861

    Source citation
    “The Habeas Corpus Case,” New York Times, June 4, 1861, p. 4.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Times
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    The Habeas Corpus Case
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    Date Certainty
    Don Sailer
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    The Habeas Corpus Case

    We publish to-day the opinion of Judge TANEY in the Merryman case, thus giving him the benefit of a judicial answer to our strictures upon his course in relation to that matter. We see nothing in that opinion to induce us to change our views. Inter arma silent leges is an ancient maxim, familiar to every lawyer, and is in itself a sufficient reply to the ponderous learning of the Judge.

    If more were necessary, we might add that the Constitution never contemplated a state of things such as now exists in these United States. It was framed for the absence of attempted revolution, of armed rebellion against the Government, and for the overthrow of the Constitution itself. It contemplated only a condition of peace, leaving the exigencies of war to the necessities of the occasion, to the higher law of instinct and self-preservation. The learning, therefore, of this opinion is thrown away, for it has no application to the circumstances under which Gen. CADWALLADER was required to act. However plausible the reasoning of the Judge, prompted by his sympathies, may be, yet practical common sense will detect the fallacy of all attempts to bend the Constitution so as to control the hard and stern necessities of war.

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