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00000174-b11b-ddc3-a1fc-bfdbb1a20000The Schreiner University Department of History is honoring the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War with a series of short vignettes focusing on events from 1861 through 1865. The Civil War was the most destructive conflict in American history, but it was also one of our most defining moments as a people and as a nation. Let us know what you think about "This Week in the Civil War." E-mail your comments to Dr. John Huddleston at jhuddles@schreiner.edu.Airs: Weekdays at 5:19 a.m., 8:19 a.m., 4:19 p.m. on KTXI and 4:49 a.m., 9:29 p.m. on KSTX.

This Week in the Civil War - 516

On February 27, 1863, a Congressional conference committee finalized the Habeas Corpus Suspension Act.   Habeas Corpus is the right of a prisoner to challenge the basis of his confinement. 

The Constitution prohibits Congress from suspending this right, except in times of rebellion or invasion. On that basis, Congress granted military officials acting on authority of the President the right to detain prisoners indefinitely or until the end of the Civil War. 

The act was controversial and several House members attempted to leave the chamber when it was introduced.  Nonetheless, the act passed.  It was used to detain, among others, former Ohio Congressman Clement Vallandigham, who had been publicly supportive of the Confederacy.  In 1866, the Supreme Court declared the use of military tribunals against civilians unconstitutional.