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Ex parte Quirin

United States Supreme Court
63 S.Ct. 1 (1942), 63 S.Ct. 2 (1942), 317 U.S. 1 (1942)



During World War II, a group of German military personnel attempted to sabotage the American government by secretly landing German submarines on American shores. The saboteurs removed their uniforms and carried with them a supply of explosives, fuses, and incendiary and timing devices. All had been instructed by the German government to destroy war industries and facilities in the United States. The saboteurs were captured and held in detention for trial by military commission, which was appointed by an executive order of the president in 1942 to try them for violations of the law of war and the Articles of War. The saboteurs (defendants) petitioned for habeas corpus in federal district court, which was denied. The saboteurs appealed to the court of appeals but petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari prior to judgment. The writ of certiorari was granted.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Stone, C.J.)

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