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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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Action of Government officials in violation of the Constitution is void. The United States does not ask him to violate his allegiance or to commit treason toward his own country for the sake of ours.

Johnson v. Eisentrager

Jjohnson Constitution does not confer a right of personal security or an immunity from military trial and punishment upon an alien enemy engaged in the hostile service of a government at war with the United States. These prisoners, it considered, are invested with a right of personal liberty by our Constitution, and therefore must have the right to the remedial writ. None of these heads of jurisdiction can be invoked by these prisoners. If this was ever something of a fiction, it is one validated by the actualities of modern total warfare.

It therefore takes measures to disable him from commission of hostile vss imputed as his intention because they are a duty to his sovereign. It should not be decided by this Court now without that assistance, particularly since Page U. On June 28,the Supreme Court decided two cases— Rasul v. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

If you prefer to suggest your own revision of the article, you can go to edit mode requires login. United States,8 Cranch ; De Lacey v. The Court of Appeals appears to have been of opinion that the petition shows some action by some official of the United States in excess of his authority which confers a private right to have it judicially voided.

Moreover, we could expect no reciprocity for placing the litigation weapon in unrestrained enemy hands. It would be fantastic to suggest that alien enemies could hail our military leaders into judicial tribunals to account for their day to day activities johnsob the battlefront.

We are cited to no instance where a court, in this or any other country where the writ is known, has issued it on behalf of an alien enemy who at no relevant time and in no stage of his captivity has been within its territorial jurisdiction.

In a dissenting opinion, Justice Hugo L. To grant the Page U. In our jurisprudence, no Government action which is void under the Constitution is exempt from judicial power. They alleged that, prior to May 8,they were in service of German armed forces jjohnson China.


Since most cases involving aliens afford this ground of jurisdiction, and the civil and property rights of immigrants or transients of foreign nationality so nearly approach equivalence to those of citizens, courts in peace time have little occasion to inquire whether litigants before them are alien or citizen.

Those prisoners were in custody in the District of Columbia. EisentragerU. The Commission sat in China, with express johnsob of the Chinese Government. Since there is no basis in this case for invoking federal judicial power, it is not necessary to decide where, if the case were otherwise, the petition should be filed.

Johnson v. Eisentrager | law case |

With this restrictive philosophy compare Ex parte Kawato, U. A basic consideration in habeas corpus practice is that the prisoner will be produced before the court.

Whether obedience to commands of their Eisetnrager superiors would, in itself, constitute “unlawful” belligerency in violation of the laws of war is not so simple a question as the Court joynson.

None of these grave grounds for challenging military jurisdiction can be urged in the case now before us. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. He argued that U. The prisoners had at no time been on American sovereign territory. But it can hardly be meant that it was unconstitutional for the Government of the United States to wage a war in foreign parts. This is the crux of the statutory scheme established by the Congress; [ Footnote 9 ] indeed, it is inherent in the very term “habeas corpus.

Habeas corpusan ancient common-law writ, issued by a court or judge directing eisentrzger who holds another in custody to produce the body of the person before the court for some specified purpose.

United States, Johnson v. Eisentrager

The Court cannot, and, despite its rhetoric on the point, does not, deny that, if they were imprisoned in the United States, our courts would clearly have jurisdiction to hear their habeas corpus complaints.

And if the Fifth be held to embrace these prisoners because it uses the inclusive term “no person,” the Sixth must, for it applies to all “accused. This eisentrater in keeping with the practices of the most enlightened of nations, and has resulted in treatment of alien enemies more considerate than that. We can only read ” b ” to mean either that the presence of the military forces of the United States in China at the times in question was unconstitutional, or, if lawfully there, that they had no right under the Constitution to set up a Military Commission on Chinese territory.

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But the Court’s opinion inescapably denies courts power to afford the least bit of protection for any alien who is subject to our occupation government abroad, even if he is neither enemy nor belligerent, and even after peace is officially declared.

The German johnsno were convicted of violating the terms of the German surrender, which had ordered that all hostilities toward the Allied forces end. Decker, 11 Page U. Speaking for the 6—3 majority who ruled against the petitioners, Justice Robert H. It was established by the Alien Enemy Act of But that undisputable axiom has no bearing on this case or the general problem from which it arises. The holding of the Court in that case is, of course, to the contrary.

Categories War crimes Keywords detention, international armed conflict, jurisdiction, war crimes Links Judgment Other countries involved Germany back to top Summary On 8 MayGermany unconditionally surrendered obliging all forces under German control to immediately cease hostilities. The court stated the steps in its own reasoning as follows: Our Constitution has emphatically expressed a contrary policy.

Internet URLs are the best. Respondents, who are johnsoj enemy aliens, were captured in China by the United States Army and tried and convicted in China by eisengrager American military commission for violations of the laws of war committed in China prior to their capture.

American citizens conscripted into the military service are thereby stripped of their Fifth Amendment rights, and, as members of the military establishment, are subject to its discipline, including military trials for offenses against aliens or Americans. Active fighting forces must be free to fight while hostilities are in progress. To support that assumption we must hold that a prisoner of our military authorities is constitutionally entitled to the writ, even though he a is an enemy alien; johnspn has never been or resided in the United States; c was captured outside of our territory and there held in military custody as a prisoner of war; d was tried and convicted by a Military Commission sitting outside the United States; e for offenses against laws of war committed outside the United States; f and is at all times imprisoned outside the United States.

One is that the United States was obliged to give the protecting eientrager of Germany.