Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chief Justice or Circuit Justice?

Here's an odd and obscure one. Over at Prawsblawg, Steve Vladeck discusses Roger Taney's decision in Ex Parte Merryman. I'll let Professor Vladeck speak for himself:

"The short version: Taney, in Merryman, holds that President Lincoln's unilateral suspension of habeas corpus in Maryland at the outset of the Civil War was unconstitutional, a ruling that is just as famous for Lincoln's response (he ignored it), as for what Taney actually said.

"For this post, though, I want to focus briefly on one of the oddest things about the case: There is absolutely no historical consensus about the capacity in which Taney issued the decision. None. Whatsoever." (Emphasis added.)

After almost 150 years? Simply amazing!

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