Ex parte Bollman

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In Ex parte Bollman, 8 U.S. 75 (1807), a divided U.S. Supreme Court ordered the release of prisoners held on charges of treason by exercising its writ of certiorari in conjunction with that of habeas corpus as a power of the Court's appellate procedure under ยง 14 of the Judiciary Act of 1789, c. 20, 1 Stat. 73, 81.

Chief Justice John Marshall delivered the opinion for the divided Court, in which he acknowledged the power of Congress to define jurisdiction for federal courts:

Courts which originate in the common law possess a jurisdiction which must be regulated by their common law, until some statute shall change their established principles; but courts which are created by written law, and whose jurisdiction is defined by written law, cannot transcend that jurisdiction. It is unnecessary to state the reasoning on which this opinion is founded, because it has been repeatedly given by this court; and with the decisions heretofore rendered on this point, no member of the bench has, even for an instant, been dissatisfied. The reasoning from the bar, in relation to it, may be answered by the single observation, that for the meaning of the term habeas corpus, resort may unquestionably be had to the common law; but the power to award the writ by any of the courts of the United States, must be given by written law.
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