The Fuller Court (1888–1910)

Criminal Justice

CourtSpeak: In Re Neagle U.S. Marshal Case (1890)

Justice Samuel Miller (majority): “It would be a great reproach to the system of government of the United States, declared to be within its sphere sovereign and supreme, if there is to be found within the domain of its powers no means of protecting the judges, in the conscientious and faithful discharge of their duties, from the malice and hatred of those upon whom their judgments may operate unfavorably.”

Justice Lucius C. Q. Lamar (dissenting): “The gravamen of this case is in the assertion that Neagle slew Terry in pursuance of a law of the United States. He who claims to have committed a homicide by authority must show the authority. If he claims the authority of law, then what law? And if a law, how came it to be a law?”


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