Brig Amy Warwick, 67 U.S. (2 Black) 635 (1863)

67 U.S. (2 Black) 635 (1863)

 

RULE:

Where the Commander in-chief, in suppressing an insurrection, meets with such armed hostile resistance and a civil war of such alarming proportions as will compel him to accord to them the character of belligerents, is a question to be decided by him, and courts must be governed by the decisions and acts of the political department of the Government to which this power was entrusted.

FACTS:

Four vessels were severally captured and the district court pronounced a decree of condemnation, from which the claimants took an appeal. The first three ships sailed in waters during a blockade and claimed they were unaware of the war when they were captured as enemies' property. The fourth ship claimed it was intending to receive a permit to go to sea. While anchored, it was taken. On appeal, the United States Supreme Court affirmed the decree of condemnation except as to a ship which contained tobacco strips that were bought before the war broke out. 

ISSUE:

Was the President's exercise of political power in seizing vessels during insurrection within his authority?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The Court found that the President had a right to institute a blockade of ports in possession of persons in armed rebellion against the Government and that the vessels were bound to regard the blockades.

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