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Constitutional Law Keyed to Maggs
Ex parte McCardle
Citation:74 U.S. 506 (1869)
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In the late 1860s, William McCardle published several editorials in the Vicksburg Times that sharply criticized federal military rule in the South during Reconstruction. These editorials led to his arrest and detention by federal military officials, who convened a military commission to try him on charges that included impeding reconstruction and inciting insurrection. McCardle filed an action seeking a writ of habeas corpus, relying on the statute that gave the federal courts jurisdiction over habeas petitioners challenging confinement by state or federal officials in violation of federal law. McCardle claimed that the Military Reconstruction Act, which authorized military rule in the South, was unconstitutional because it permitted the trial of civilians by military tribunals rather than regularly constituted courts.
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