Redirected from Writ of habeas corpus
The principles of habeas corpus were put into a Act of Parliament in the Habeas Corpus Act in 1679. [...to be expanded...]
This procedure, part of English common law, was considered important enough to be specifically mentioned in the U.S. Constitution, which says, "The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it." Habeas corpus was suspended at the beginning of the American Civil War by President Lincoln. His action was challenged in court and overturned by Justice Taney in Ex Parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1861). Lincoln ignored Taney's order.
Habeas corpus was suspended on April 27, 1861 during the American Civil War by Abraham Lincoln in parts of midwestern states, including southern Indiana. He did so in response to demands by generals to set up military courts to rein in "Copperheads", or those in the Union who supported the Confederate cause. Lambdin Milligan and four others were accused of planning to steal Union weapons and invade Union prisoner-of-war camps and were sentenced to hang by a military court in 1864. However, their execution was not set until May 1865, so they were able to argue the case after the Civil War. It was decided in the Supreme Court case Ex Parte Milligan 71 US 2 1866 that the suspension was unconstitutional because civilian courts were still operating, and the Constitution (according to the Court) only provided for suspension of Habeas Corpus if these courts are actually forced closed.