Logourl black
From our private database of 14,100+ case briefs...

Ex Parte Milligan

United States Supreme Court
71 U.S. (4 Wall.) 2 (1866)


In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, Congress passed a statute authorizing President Lincoln to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, conditioned on certain limitations. President Lincoln did so in September of that same year. The statute mandated that a list of the names of U.S. citizens held as prisoners must be given by the Secretaries of State and War to the circuit and district court judges, and if a grand jury did not return an indictment against a particular prisoner, that prisoner was to be brought before a judge for a decision of discharge or further action. Lambdin P. Milligan (defendant), an Indiana resident, was arrested in October 1864 by order of the commander of the military district of Indiana and imprisoned. Milligan was brought before a military tribunal, found guilty of various charges of conspiracy against the government, and sentenced to be hanged. On January 2, 1865, the United States Circuit Court for Indiana empanelled a grand jury, which did not return an indictment against Milligan. Milligan then petitioned the court for release, citing the 1863 statute and arguing that the military tribunal had no jurisdiction to try him.

Rule of Law

The rule of law is the black letter law upon which the court rested its decision.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.


The issue section includes the dispositive legal issue in the case phrased as a question.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Holding and Reasoning (Davis, J.)

The holding and reasoning section includes:

  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

Concurrence (Chase, C.J.)

The concurrence section is for members only and includes a summary of the concurring judge or justice’s opinion.

To access this section, please start your free trial or log in.

What to do next…

  1. Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.

    You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.

  2. Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.

    Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.

Here's why 221,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:

  • Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,100 briefs, keyed to 189 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
  • The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
  • Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
  • Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.