Ex parte Quirin. Ex parte Haupt. Ex parte Kerling. Ex parte Burger. Ex parte Heinck. Ex parte Thiel. Ex parte Neubauer. United States ex rel. Quirin v. Cox, Brig. Gen., U.S.a., Provost Marshal of the Military District of Washington, and 6 other cases. Nos. — 8212 1942

Decision Date31 July 1942
Docket Number5,2,Nos. 1,3,6 and 7,4,s. 1
Citation87 L.Ed. 3,63 S.Ct. 2,87 L.Ed. 7,317 U.S. 1
PartiesEx parte QUIRIN. Ex parte HAUPT. Ex parte KERLING. Ex parte BURGER. Ex parte HEINCK. Ex parte THIEL. Ex parte NEUBAUER. UNITED STATES ex rel. QUIRIN v. COX, Brig. Gen., U.S.A., Provost Marshal of the Military District of Washington, and 6 other cases. Nos. —- Original and—July Special Term, 1942
CourtU.S. Supreme Court

[Syllabus from pages 1-6 intentionally omitted] Colonel Kenneth C. Royall, of Raleigh, N.C., for petitioners.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 6-11 intentionally omitted] Mr. Francis B. Biddle, Atty. Gen., for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

In these causes motions for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus were presented to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which entered orders denying the motions. Motions for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus were then presented to this Court, and the merits of the applications were fully argued at the Special Term of Court convened on July 29, 1942. Counsel for petitioners subsequently filed a notice of appeal from the order of the District Court to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, and they have perfected their appeals to that court. They have presented to this Court petitions for writs of certiorari before judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 347(a), 28 U.S.C.A. § 347(a). The petitions are granted. In accordance with the stipulation between counsel for petitioners and for the respondent, the papers filed and argument had in connection with the applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus are made applicable to the certiorari proceedings.

The Court has fully considered the questions raised in these cases and thoroughly argued at the bar, and has reached its conclusion upon them. It now announces its decision and enters its judgment in each case, in advance of the preparation of a full opinion which necessarily will require a considerable period of time for its preparation and which, when prepared, will be filed with the Clerk.

The Court holds:

(1) That the charges preferred against petitioners on which they are being tried by military commission appointed by the order of the President of July 2, 1942, allege an offense or offenses which the President is authorized to order tried before a military commission.

(2) That the military commission was lawfully constituted.

(3) That petitioners are held in lawful custody, for trial before the military commission, and have not shown cause for being discharged by writ of habeas corpus.

The motions for leave to file petitions for writs of habeas corpus are denied.

The orders of the District Court are affirmed. The mandates are directed to issue forthwith.

Mr. Justice MURPHY took no part in the consideration or decision of these cases.

[Argument of Counsel from pages 12-18 intentionally omitted]

Page 18

Mr. Chief Justice STONE delivered the opinion of the Court.

These cases are brought here by petitioners' several applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in this Court, and by their petitions for certiorari to review orders of the District Court for the District of Columbia, which denied their applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in that court.

The question for decision is whether the detention of petitioners by respondent for trial by Military Commission, appointed by Order of the President of July 2, 1942,

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on charges preferred against them purporting to set out their violations of the law of war and of the Articles of War, is in conformity to the laws and Constitution of the United States.

After denial of their applications by the District Court, 47 F.Supp. 431, petitioners asked leave to file petitions for habeas corpus in this Court. In view of the public importance of the questions raised by their petitions and of the duty which rests on the courts, in time of war as well as in time of peace, to preserve unimpaired the constitutional safeguards of civil liberty, and because in our opinion the public interest required that we consider and decide those questions without any avoidable delay, we directed that petitioners' applications be set down for full oral argument at a special term of this Court, convened on July 29, 1942. The applications for leave to file the petitions were presented in open court on that day and were heard on the petitions, the answers to them of respondent, a stipulation of facts by counsel, and the record of the testimony given before the Commission.

While the argument was proceeding before us, petitioners perfected their appeals from the orders of the District Court to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and thereupon filed with this

Page 20

Court petitions for certiorari to the Court of Appeals before judgment, pursuant to Section 240(a) of the Judicial Code, 28 U.S.C. § 347(a), 28 U.S.C.A. § 347(a). We granted certiorari before judgment for the reasons which moved us to convene the special term of Court. In accordance with the stipulation of counsel we treat the record, briefs and arguments in the habeas corpus proceedings in this Court as the record, briefs and arguments upon the writs of certiorari.

On July 31, 1942, after hearing argument of counsel and after full consideration of all questions raised, this Court affirmed the orders of the District Court and denied petitioners' applications for leave to file petitions for habeas corpus. By per curiam opinion, 317 U.S. 1, 63 S.Ct. 1, 87 L.Ed. —-, we announced the decision of the Court, and that the full opinion in the causes would be prepared and filed with the Clerk.

The following facts appear from the petitions or are stipulated. Except as noted they are undisputed.

All the petitioners were born in Germany; all have lived in the United States. All returned to Germany between 1933 and 1941. All except petitioner Haupt are admittedly citizens of the German Reich, with which the United States is at war. Haupt came to this country with his parents when he was five years old; it is contended that he became a citizen of the United States by virtue of the naturalization of his parents during his minority and that he has not since lost his citizenship. The Government, however, takes the position that on attaining his majority he elected to maintain German allegiance and citizenship or in any case that he has by his conduct renounced or abandoned his United States citizenship. See Perkins v. Elg, 307 U.S. 325, 334, 59 S.Ct. 884, 889, 83 L.Ed. 1320; United States ex rel. Rojak v. Marshall, D.C., 34 F.2d 219; United States ex rel. Scimeca v. Husband, 2 Cir., 6 F.2d 957, 958; 8 U.S.C. § 801, 8 U.S.C.A. § 801, and compare 8 U.S.C. § 808, 8 U.S.C.A. § 808. For reasons presently to be stated we do not find it necessary to resolve these contentions.

Page 21

After the declaration of war between the United States and the German Reich, petitioners received training at a sabotage school near Berlin, Germany, where they were instructed in the use of explosives and in methods of secret writing. Thereafter petitioners, with a German citizen, Dasch, proceeded from Germany to a seaport in Occupied France, where petitioners Burger, Heinck and Quirin, together with Dasch, boarded a German submarine which proceeded across the Atlantic to Amagansett Beach on Long Island, New York. The four were there landed from the submarine in the hours of darkness, on or about June 13, 1942, carrying with them a supply of explosives, fuses and incendiary and timing devices. While landing they wore German Marine Infantry uniforms or parts of uniforms. Immediately after landing they buried their uniforms and the other articles mentioned and proceeded in civilian dress to New York City.

The remaining four petitioners at the same French port boarded another German submarine, which carried them across the Atlantic to Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. On or about June 17, 1942, they came ashore during the hours of darkness wearing caps of the German Marine Infantry and carrying with them a supply of explosives, fuses, and incendiary and timing devices. They immediately buried their caps and the other articles mentioned and proceeded in civilian dress to Jacksonville, Florida, and thence to various points in the United States. All were taken into custody in New York or Chicago by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All had received instructions in Germany from an officer of the German High Command to destroy war industries and war facilities in the United States, for which they or their relatives in Germany were to receive salary payments from the German Government. They also had been paid by the German Government during their course of training at the sabotage school and had received substantial sums in

Page 22

United States currency, which were in their possession when arrested. The currency had been handed to them by an officer of the German High Command, who had instructed them to wear their German uniforms while landing in the United States.1

The President, as President and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, by Order of July 2, 1942,2 appointed a Military Commission and directed it to try petitioners for offenses against the law of war and the Articles of War, and prescribed regulations for the procedure on the trial and for review of the record of the trial and of any judgment or sentence of the Commission. On the same day, by Proclamation,3 the President declared that 'all persons who are subjects, citizens or residents of any nation at war with the United States or who give obedience to or act under the direction of any such nation,

Page 23

and who during time of war enter or attempt to enter the United States * * * through coastal or boundary defenses, and are charged with committing or...

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