Upcoming Conference - Ex Parte Milligan at 150 years: The Constitution & Military Commissions in American Wars on Terror, September 22nd-24th
Announcing an important Lincoln event, timely in our own lives! A conference to be held at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois, September 22-24, 2016, Ex Parte Milligan at 150: The Constitution & Military Commissions in American Wars on Terror.
In the summer of 1866, US Supreme Court Justice David Davis retired to his home here in Bloomington, Illinois to write the majority opinion in Ex parte Milligan, a controversial case that developed out of the Civil War and the Lincoln Administration's use of military commissions to try civilians. Contrary to his friend Lincoln's position, Davis famously held that trial by military commissions was only acceptable where there was a real war and where civilian courts were impaired. Despite Davis's soaring rhetoric, the decision has remained controversial.
The event includes three keynote speakers:
Historian: Michael Les Benedict | The Ohio State University
The Constitutional Scholar (tba) | Constitution Project
Law Professor: Jonathan Hafetz | Seton Hall Law School
(For full details, see http://milliganconference.illinoisstate.edu/)
Since 9/11, ex parte Milligan and the issues sourrounding it have assumed renewed centrality in our national debates. The administration of George W. Bush exercised and defended sweeping executive discretion in prosecuting the war on terror, including the use of military commissions, an assertion seemingly counter to Davis's majority opinion as well as the more circumspect concurring opinion.
And despite four Supreme Court decisions, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld (2004), Rasul v. Bush (2004), Hamdan v. Rumsfeld (2006), and Boumediene v. Bush (2008), the law in this area remains unsettled. The continuing salience of ex parte Milligan has been underlined again. On October 22, 2014, it and related decisions aired again in a Guantanamo-related case heard in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, which some expert observers believe will soon head to the Supreme Court.
Our keynote speakers will be joined by historians and Constitutional Scholars for two Plenary Sessions:
Lincoln, Civil Liberties, and the Milligan Decision
Milligan and Gitmo
In addition to our Keynote speakers, a number of important scholars of Lincoln and Civil Liberties will be delivering remarks:
William Blair | Author of With Malice Toward Some: Treason and Loyalty in the Civil War Era
Roger Billings | Co-editor of Abraham Lincoln, Esq.: The Legal Career of America's Greatest President
Christopher Phillips | Author of The Rivers Ran Backward: The Civil War and the Remaking of the American Middle Border
Brooks Simpson | Author of Ulysses S. Grant: Triumph over Adversity, 1822-1865
Stephen Towne | Author of Surveillance and Spys in the Civil War: Exposing Confederate Conspiracies in America's Heartland
Jennifer Weber | Author of Copperheads: The Rise and Fall of Lincoln's Opponents in the North
Jonathan White | Author of Abraham Lincoln and Treason in the Civil War: The Trials of John Merryman
If you can fit all or part of this exciting program into your plans, please register now. Early registration will help us in planning for this important event! http://milliganconference.illinoisstate.edu/registration/