Ex parte Merryman
Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1861) (No. 9487), is a well-known and controversial U.S. federal court case which arose out of the American Civil War. It was a test of the authority of the President to suspend ""the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus"" under the Constitution's Suspension Clause, when Congress was in recess and therefore unavailable to do so itself. U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, sitting as a federal circuit court judge, ruled that the authority to suspend habeas corpus lay exclusively with Congress. Saying that Taney's orders were unconstitutional, President Abraham Lincoln defied them, as did the Army under Lincoln's orders, and John Merryman remained inaccessible to the judiciary while Congress remained in recess.