The rights of prisoners of war depends on which country holds them. In this lesson, we will learn how the Supreme Court’s decision in ”Johnson v. Eisentrager”. [Source: U.S. Supreme Court JOHNSON v. EISENTRAGER, U.S. (); June 5, ; available on ]. Johnson, Secretary of Defense et al; Eisentrager alias Ehrhardt et al. Categories, War crimes. Keywords, detention, international armed conflict, jurisdiction, war.

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But jurisdiction of a federal district court does not eisemtrager on whether the initial pleading sufficiently states a cause of action; if a court has jurisdiction of subject matter and parties, it should proceed to try the case, beginning with consideration of the pleadings.

Courts will entertain his plea for freedom from Executive custody only to ascertain the existence of a state of war and whether he is an alien enemy and so subject to the Alien Enemy Act. The case is before us only on issues of law.

With confirmation of recent history, we may reiterate this Court’s earlier teaching that, in war, “every individual of the one nation must acknowledge every individual of the other nation as his own enemy — because the enemy of his country. The Fifth Amendment, by its terms, applies to ‘any person. We are here confronted with a decision whose basic premise is that these prisoners are entitled, as a constitutional right, to sue eisetrager some court of the United States for a writ of habeas corpus.

These prisoners were convicted by our own military tribunals under our own Articles of War, years after hostilities had ceased. But the nonresident enemy alien, especially one who has remained in the service of the enemy, does not have been this qualified access to our courts, for he neither has eisenrager claims upon our institutions nor could his use of them fail to be helpful to the enemy.

Keep Exploring Britannica Mahatma Gandhi. EisentragerU. It might also require transportation for whatever witnesses the prisoners desired to call, as well as transportation for those necessary to defend legality of the sentence. Any contention that a similarly limited use of habeas corpus for these eisenrager would somehow give them a preferred position in the law cannot be taken seriously. Twenty-one German nationals petitioned the District Court of the District of Columbia for writs of habeas corpus.

If our country decides to occupy conquered territory either temporarily or permanently, it assumes the problem of deciding how the subjugated people will be ruled, what laws will govern, eisengrager will promulgate them, and what jounson agency of ours will see that they are properly administered. See cases collected in Annotations, A. Twenty-one German nationals petitioned the District Court of the District of Columbia for eisentragee of habeas corpus.


See 2 Johnsson of Taxitus Oxford trans. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Hugo L. If this was ever something of a fiction, it is one validated by the actualities of modern total warfare. The petition in this case alleges no fact showing lack of jurisdiction in the military authorities to accuse, try, and condemn these prisoners, or that they acted in excess of their lawful powers.

Johnson v. Eisentrager

The issue was where. Those cases dealt with persons both residing and detained within the United States and whose capacity and standing to invoke the process of federal courts somewhere was unquestioned.

Supreme Court of the United Statesfinal court of appeal and final expositor of the Constitution of the United States. They, with six others who were acquitted, were taken into custody by the United States Army after the Japanese surrender and were tried and convicted by a Military Commission constituted by our Commanding General at Nanking by delegation from the Commanding General, United States Johnsoon, China Theater, pursuant to authority specifically granted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States.

In the primary meaning of the words, an alien friend is the jhonson of a foreign state at peace with the United States; an alien enemy is the subject of a foreign state at war with the United States. May a civilian enemy alien present a habeas corpus petition to the courts of the detaining power? Our Constitution is not so impractical or inflexible that it unduly restricts such necessary independence.

We have pointed out that the privilege of litigation has been extended to aliens, whether friendly or enemy, only because permitting their presence in the country implied [ Eisentrager that foreign nationals imprisoned abroad may not file habeas corpus eisenrrager in U. The trial court held that, because the persons involved are imprisoned overseas, it had no territorial jurisdiction even to consider their petitions.

Courts will entertain his plea for freedom from executive custody only to ascertain the existence of a state of war and Page U. Moreover, we could expect no reciprocity for eisentrqger the litigation weapon in unrestrained enemy hands. The petition specifies v reasons why conviction of the Military Commission was in excess of its jurisdiction: It is well established that military authorities have jurisdiction, during or following hostilities, to punish those guilty of violations of the laws of war.

Johnson v. Eisentrager, 339 U.S. 763 (1950)

Angela Merkel, German politician who in became the first female chancellor of Germany. JohnsonSecretary of Defense, et al. In Augustthe appellant, Lothar Eisentrager, and the other individuals all German nationals whom he represents were served with eisentdager of violations of the laws of war on the grounds that they had engaged in military activity against the United States after the eisentragrr of Germany.

Despite this, the doors of our courts have not been summarily closed upon these prisoners.

One of those convicted, Lothar Eisentrager, filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus in a U. In this respect, our courts follow the practice of the English courts.


Johnson v. Eisentrager

But even by the most magnanimous view, our law does not abolish inherent distinctions recognized throughout the civilized world between citizens and aliens, nor between aliens of friendly and of enemy allegiance, [ Footnote 2 ] nor between resident enemy aliens who have submitted themselves to our laws and nonresident ve aliens who at all times have remained with, and adhered to, enemy governments.

Venzke, ‘ Detention in the War on Terror: Certainly it is not the function of the Judiciary to entertain private litigation — even by a citizen — which challenges the legality, the wisdom, or the propriety of the Commander-in-Chief in sending our armed forces abroad or to any particular region. No such basis can be invoked here, for these prisoners at no relevant time were within any territory over which the United States is sovereign, and the scenes of their offense, their capture, their trial and their punishment were all beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any court of the United States.

Ex parte Quirin, U. It is war that exposes the relative vulnerability of the alien’s status. And see also Milch v. And, at least eisetnragerwe have extended to the person and property of resident aliens important constitutional guaranties — such as the due process of law of the Fourteenth Amendment.

It was established by the Alien Enemy Act of Constitutionlaws of the United Statesand provisions of the Geneva Conventionsthey petitioned the District Court for the District of Columbia for a writ of habeas corpus directed to the Secretary of Defensethe Secretary of the Armyand several officers of the Army having directive power over their custodian. After hearing all contentions johnsob have seen fit to advance and considering every contention we can base on their application and the holdings below, we arrive at the same conclusion the Court reached in each of those cases, viz.: If you prefer to suggest your own revision of the article, you can go to edit mode requires login.

Johnson v. Eisentrager :: U.S. () :: Justia US Supreme Court Center

When that appears, those resident here may be deprived of liberty jobnson Executive action without hearing. The prisoners had at no time been on American sovereign territory.

This is in keeping with the practices of the most enlightened of nations, and has resulted in treatment of alien enemies more considerate than that Page U.

Justia Annotations is a forum for attorneys to summarize, comment on, and analyze case law published on our site.