The Stone Court (1941–46)

Commerce Clause

What case involving German saboteurs established the power of the president to order captured spies tried by military tribunals?

In Ex Parte Quirin (1942), the Stone Court unanimously ruled 8–0 (Justice Frank Murphy did not participate in the case) that the president could establish a military tribunal to try the eight German saboteurs. The Court did hold, however, that the saboteurs had a right to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. The saboteurs argued that they could not be tried by a military tribunal but instead must be tried in the normal judicial system with the constitutional guarantees of a grand jury and trial by jury.


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