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CourtSpeak: Ex Parte Quirin Military Tribunal Case (1942)

Commerce Clause Read more from
Chapter The Stone Court (1941–46)

Chief Justice Harlan Fiske Stone (majority): “By universal agreement and practice the law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.”

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