Ex Parte McGardle Case Brief

Summary of Ex Parte McGardle
Supreme Court Decision 1868


Facts: McGardle, a newspaper editor, was imprisoned in a military jail for publication of articles alleged to be incendiary and libellous.

An act was passed by Congress and signed by the President amending the establishment of judicial courts (jurisdiction).

Issue: If the appellate jurisdiction of the courts is derived from the Constitution 1789, then can Congress pass supplemental acts to further expand or limit that jurisdiction?

Holding: The appeal of the petitioner is dismissed for want of jurisdiction.

Reasoning: The legislature has the express authority under the Constitution to make exceptions to the appellate jurisdiction. Therefor the court no longer has appellate jurisdiction to hear petitioner’s cause of action. The provision of 1867 pertaining to habeas corpus was repealed by the Act of 1868. The 1868 Act only limits appeals of habeas corpus from Circuit Courts under the 1867 Act.

Procedure: Appeal from Circuit Court to Supreme Court.

Rule: The Constitution established the judicial courts, and their organization, which conferred their power/authority. “with such exceptions and under such regulations as Congress shall make."

Congress passed an Act limiting the appellate jurisdiction of the courts.

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