“Lincoln’s Suspension of the Writ of Habeas Corpus and the Conflict that Ensued”
Presented by Hon. David B. Rand (J.S.C. ret.)
In April 1861 the United States of America was a country in turmoil. As a result of the attack by southerners upon Fort Sumter Lincoln called for volunteers to put down the rebellion. When Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861 Washington D.C. was surrounded by forces hostile to the Union. Lincoln took a radical step: he unilaterally suspended the only personal right included in the original U.S. Constitution, the writ of habeas corpus. This action brought him in direct conflict with Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Roger B. Taney. Judge Rand will discuss these events and their consequences down to the present day.