Ex parte Garland/Opinion of the Court

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United States Supreme Court

71 U.S. 333

Ex parte Garland


'Whatever belongs merely to the remedy may be altered according to the will of the State, provided the alteration does not impair the obligation of the contract. But if that effect is produced, it is immaterial whether it is done by acting on the remedy, or directly on the contract itself. In either case it is prohibited by the Constitution.'

'And no one, we presume, would say that there is any substantial difference between a retrospective law declaring a particular contract or class of contracts to be abrogated and void, and one which took away all remedy to enforce them, or incumbered it with conditions that render it useless or impracticable to pursue it.'

In the Passenger Cases, [6] this court held that State laws, nominally mere health or police laws, were unconstitutional, because, in their effect, they amounted to a regulation of commerce; and, therefore, were an exercise of power vested exclusively in the Federal government.

The judges of this court hold office during good behavior. An act of Congress passed to-day, requiring them to take an oath that they were not above forty years of age, and providing, as the act in question does in relation to attorneys, that, 'after the 4th March next, no justice of this court should be admitted to his seat, unless he should take such oath, even if he were previously a justice of said court,' would be a palpable violation of the Constitution, because it would amount to a disqualification to any man above forty years of age, and be equivalent to providing that no justice of this court should remain in office beyond that age; while the Constitution provides that the judges shall hold during good behavior.

The Constitution provides, [7] that 'no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.' Now, an act of Congress, or of a State, declaring that before any heir should enter into his ancestral estates he should take an oath that his ancestor had not been attainted of treason, would violate this provision; and could be intended for no other purpose.

Assault and battery is a crime punishable by fine of $50, but not with disqualification to hold office. Suppose A. today commits that offence, is tried and fined. To-morrow, Congress passes a law that no person shall be admitted to hold any office of honor, profit, or trust until he shall subscribe an oath that he has never committed the crime of assault and battery. Is it not apparent that such act, in its practical operation, would be ex post facto, as adding to the punishment of assault and battery an important penalty not attaching when the crime was committed?

These are instances, and many might be cited, illustrating the proposition that an act is unconstitutional, which accomplishes a result forbidden by, or in conflict with, the Constitution.

II. What, then, is the result accomplished by the act complained of, and how does that result accord with the spirit and provisions of the Constitution?

This may be considered—

(1.) With reference to the petition; and

(2.) Upon principle generally.

1. Conceding, for the purpose of this argument, that the petitioner has been guilty of treason, for which, on conviction in the manner provided in the Constitution (on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court), he might have been punished with death.

The President has fully pardoned him for this offence; and the constitutional effect of that pardon is to restore him to all his rights, civil and political, including the capacity or qualification to hold office, as fully in every respect as though he had never committed the offence. Previous to the Rebellion, the petitioner was not only qualified to be, but actually was a member of this bar. In consequence of his supposed treason, and only in consequence of that, he subjected himself to the liability of forfeiture of that office; but the pardon wipes out both the crime and the liability to punishment, and restores the petitioner to the rights he before possessed, including the right to practise at this bar. This act of Congress, however, fixes upon this petitioner, as a consequence of the offence, a perpetual disqualification to hold this or any other office of honor, profit, or trust. In other words, the act accomplishes a result in direct opposition to the constitutional effect of the pardon. Dropping names and forms and considering the substance of things, the President says, by his pardon: 'You shall not be precluded from practising in the Supreme Court in consequence of your crime; I pardon you.' The act says: 'You shall never practise in the Supreme Court without taking an oath which will be perjury, and then, on conviction of that, that shall disqualify you.' The President is trying to pardon, and Congress to punish the petitioner for the same offence; and the only question is, which power prevails over the other?To examine this subject we must consider first the nature and effect of the pardon granted to the petitioner; and secondly, the character and effect of the oath prescribed by the act. If it can be shown that the pardon, in its constitutional effect, extinguishes the crime and precludes the possibility of punishment; and that the oath in effect fixes a disqualification, which is in the nature of a penalty or punishment for the same offence, then, of course, the conflict between the two is established, and we presume it will be conceded, in that case, that the pardon must prevail.

First, the pardon. The Constitution provides [8] that the President 'shall have power to grant reprives and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.' This language is plain. 'Offences,' means 'all offences;' and then the express exception of cases of impeachment is a repetition of the same idea.

In United States v. Wilson, [9] Chief Justice Marshall, speaking of the pardoning power, says:

'As this power had been exercised from time immemorial by the Executive of that nation, whose language is our language, and to whose judicial institutions ours bear a close resemblance, we adopt their principles respecting the operation and effect of a pardon, and look into their books for the rules prescribing the manner in which it is to be used by the person who would avail himself of it.'

This court, delivering its opinion by Mr. Justice Wayne, in Ex parte Wells, [10] quotes this language of Chief Justice Marshall with approval, and says further that the power granted to the President was the same that had before been exercised by the Crown of England. Now let us turn to the English and American authorities.

'The effect of a pardon is to make the offender a new man; to acquit him of all corporal penalties and forfeitures annexed to that offence for which he obtains a pardon; it gives him a new credit and capacity; and the pardon of treason or felony, even after conviction or attainder, will enable a man to have an action of slander for calling him a traitor or felon.'

'The stroke being pardoned, the effects of it are consequently pardoned.'

And refers to Cole's Case, in the old and accurate reporter Plowden. [12] Bacon says, also: [13]

'The pardon removes all punishment and legal disability.' [14]

'The effect of a full pardon is to absolve the party from all the consequences of his crime, and of his conviction therefor, direct and collateral; it frees him from the punishment, whether of imprisonment, pecuniary penalty, or whatever else the law has provided.'

In the Pennsylvania case of Cope v. Commonwealth, [16] the court says:

'We are satisfied, however, that although the remission of the fine imposed would not discharge the offender from all the consequences of his guilt, a full pardon of the offence would.'

In the Massachusetts case of Perkins v. Stevens, [17] it is said:

'It is only a full pardon of the offence which can wipe away the infamy of the conviction, and restore the convict of his civil rights.'

And quoting from the attorney-general of that State, the court approves the following language:

'When fully exercised, pardon is an effectual mode of restoring the competency of a witness. It must be fully exercised to produce this effect; for if the punishment only be pardoned or remitted it will not restore the competency, and does not remove the blemish of character. There must be a full and free pardon of the offence before these can be released and removed.'

In other cases [18] a pardon was held to render the convict a competent witness, upon the ground that the pardon removed not only the punishment but the stigma of guilt.

These authorities show that the people intended to, and in fact did, clothe the President with the power to pardon all offences, and thereby to wash away the legal stain and extinguish all the legal consequences of treason-all penalties, all punishments, and everything in the nature of punishment.

The President, for reasons of the sufficiency of which he is the sole and exclusive judge, has exercised this power in favor of the petitioner. The effect of the pardon, therefore, is to make it impossible for any power on earth to inflict, constitutionally, any punishment whatever upon the petitioner for the crime of treason specified in the pardon.

III. The act applied to the petitioner, in substance and effect, visits upon him a punishment for his pardoned crime. It will be conceded that the effect of this act is to exclude the petitioner from this and from all civil office. That a permanent disqualification for office is a grievous punishment need not be argued in America.

In the matter of Dorsey, [19] a motion was made for the admission of Dorsey as an attorney, and to dispense with administering to him an oath in relation to duelling, required by an act of 1826. This act provided that 'all members of the general assembly, all officers and public functionaries, elected or appointed under the constitution or laws of the State, and all counsellors and attorneys at law,' before entering upon their office, should take an oath that they had never been engaged in any duel, and that they never would be.

The report of the case occupies about two hundred pages, and is an able and elaborate discussion of this subject, and a full authority for the position we take in this case. It was there held:

1. That in that case the law prescribed a qualification for holding office, which an individual never could comply with, and that such act, as to him, was a disqualification.

2. That such disqualification was punishment.

3. That the retrospective part of the oath was unconstitutional.

4. That as a part of the oath was unconstitutional, and the court could not separate it, the whole oath was unconstitutional, and the petitioner was entitled to be admitted without taking it.

'I have omitted any argument to show that disqualification from office, or from the pursuits of a lawful avocation, is a punishment; that it is so, is too evident to require any illustration; indeed, it may be questioned whether any ingenuity could devise any penalty which would operate more forcibly on society.'

In Barker v. The People, [21] a New York case, the chancellor says:

'Whether the legislature can exclude from public trusts any person not excluded by the express rules of the Constitution, is the question which I have already examined, and according to my views of that question there may be an exclusion by law, in punishment for crimes, but in no other manner, and for no other cause.'

In same case, in Supreme Court, where the opinion was delivered by Spencer, C. J., it is said:

'The disfranchisement of a citizen is not an unusual punishment; it was the consequence of treason, and of infamous crimes, and it was altogether discretionary in the legislature to extend that punishment to other offences.'Indeed, the very act we are considering provides this punishment for those who shall be convicted of perjury for taking the test oath falsely.

And more than all, the Constitution of the United States [22] itself is to the same effect. It says:

'Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States.'

For the highest crimes, then, and on trial in the most solemn form known to the Constitution, the only punishment is disqualification.

These authorities, as we assert, establish:

1. That the pardon absolves the petitioner from all punishment for his offence; and,

2. That the act in question does, in its operation upon the petitioner, disfranchise him from holding office; and

3. That such disfranchisement is in effect a punishment for the same offence for which he has been pardoned; and, therefore,

4. That the act and the pardon are in conflict, and the pardon must prevail.

IV. The foregoing objections are conclusive as regards Mr. Garland; but it might be omitting a duty that every lawyer owes his country, not to call attention to other general objections to this act.

1. What right has Congress to prescribe other qualifications than are found in the Constitution; and what is the limit of the power? Of course the power is conceded to make perpetual or limited disqualification one of the penalties of crime, applying the act prospectively. Such was the act sustained in Barker v. The People, before cited; but where does Congress get the power to disfranchise and disqualify any citizen, except as punishment for crimes, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted?Congress can exercise none but actually delegated powers, or such as are incidental and necessary to carry out those expressly granted. If this act is constitutional, then there is no limit to the oaths that may be hereafter prescribed. The whole matter rests in the discretion of Congress. A law requiring every public officer to swear that he voted for a particular candidate at the last election, or leave his office, would be more wanton, but not less constitutional, than the one we are considering; for if it is in the constitutional power of Congress to require these disfranchising oaths to be taken, then Congress alone can determine their nature. There is no appeal from its determination of any matter within its constitutional province.

'No person shall be held to answer for a capital or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury; except,' &c. . . . 'Nor shall he be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law,' &c.

Now, suppose murder or treason to have been in fact committed by a public officer, but that there is no witness to establish the fact. Can Congress pass a law requiring him, as a condition to his further continuance in office, or ever after holding any office, to take an oath that he has not committed murder or treason? If so, all the consequences which can follow from conviction on impeachment, viz., incapacity to hold office, may be visited upon the guilty party without indictment, trial, or witnesses produced against him, and without any process of law whatever; and Congress may by ex post facto laws brand the most trifling offence, or even a difference of political opinion, with total disqualification to hold office. Such rapid administration of justice might often reach a correct result, and disfranchise a guilty man whose absence from office might not endanger the Republic; but the question is, is it a constitutional method of establishing and punishing guilt?

3. The petitioner's right to practise in this court is property. In Wammack v. Halloway, [24] it was held by the court unanimously, that 'the right to exercise an office is as much a species of property as any other thing capable of possession; and to wrongfully deprive one of it, or unjustly withhold it, is an injury which the law can redress in as ample a manner as any other wrong; and conflicting claims to exercise it must be decided in the same manner as other claims involving any other right, if either of the claimants insist on a jury.'

In Ex parte Heyfron, [25] it was held to be 'error to strike an attorney from the roll on motion without giving him notice of the proceeding,' the court saying: 'It is a cardinal principle in the administration of justice, that no man can be condemned, or divested of his rights, until he has had an opportunity of being heard.'

In the matter of Cooper, [26] it was held that the court, in passing upon the admission of an applicant to practise as an attorney, acted judicially, and its decision was reviewable in the appellate court.

In Ex parte Secombe, [27] this court say (by C. J. Taney):

'It rests exclusively with the court to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers, as an attorney and counsellor, and for what cause he ought to be removed. The power, however, is not an arbitrary and despotic one, to be exercised at the pleasure of the court, or from passion, prejudice, or personal hostility; but it is the duty of the court to exercise and regulate it by sound and just judicial discretion, whereby the rights and independence of the bar may be as scrupulously guarded and maintained by the court as the rights and dignity of the court itself.'

These cases show that the petitioner has a vested right in his office as an attorney of this court, of which he can only be deprived by some regular judicial proceeding. He may be removed for cause; but the adjudication of the court in the premises is a judicial judgment, which may be reviewed on appeal.

Depriving the petitioner, therefore, of his office by an enforcement of this act of Congress, is depriving him of his property without due process of law.

I. The President has granted to the petitioner a 'full pardon and amnesty.' Here are two words, and the meaning of them is different.

The meaning of the word pardon has been discussed and is well known. The word 'amnesty' is not of frequent use in the English law; for the clemency which is expressed by that word is usually exercised in England by what they call an act of indemnity. Let us inquire into its meaning.

Neither the English law nor our law throws great light upon the matter. It may be well to trace its history, and to see how it was understood originally, how it has been uniformly understood since, and is now understood, by some of the most polished nations of the world. If we turn our attention to France, particularly, so long and so often the sport of political storms and revolutions, we shall find in her jurisprudence abundant light to guide us in our inquiry as to the meaning and effect of the amnesty.

The word comes from the Greek, A?vns?ia, and means oblivion, the state or condition of being forgotten, no longer remembered. When Thrasybulus had overcome and dethroned the Thirty Tyrants, he induced his followers, by his persuasive eloquence, and by the influence which his noble virtues gave him, to pass an act of perpetual oblivion in favor of an oligarchical party, from whom they had suffered atrocious wrongs; to forget, to remember no longer, the past offences, grievous as they were; and this act of clemency, running back to about the year 403 B. C., he called A?vns?ia.

The Romans, too, had their amnesty, which they called Abolitio, and which is thus defined in their law: 'Abolitio est deletio, oblivio, vel extinctio accusationis.'

This high prerogative was exercised by the kings of Spain from a very remote period; and its effect [29] is, to condone the penalty, and to obliterate, efface the mark of infamy.

From an early period, this prerogative has been exercised by the kings of France, and its effect has been the subject of the most minute judicial investigation.

Merlin [30] defines the word: 'Grace du souverain, par laquelle il veut qu'on oublie ce qui a et e fait contre lui ou contre ses ordres.'

Fleming & Tibbins, in their Dictionary, [31] define it: 'Pardon qu'on accorde a des rebelles ou a des d eserteurs.'

In the matter of a person named Clemency, [32] the Court of Cassation say:

'If the effect of letters of pardon is limited to the remission of the whole or a part of the penalties pronounced against one or more individuals; if they leave the offence still subsisting, as well as the culpability of the pardoned, and even declare the justice of the condemnation, it is otherwise with respect to a full and complete amnesty, which carries with it the extinction of the offences of which it is the object; of the prosecutions commenced or to be commenced; of the condemnations which may have been or which may be pronounced; so that these offences, covered with the veil of the law, by the royal power and clemency, are, with respect to courts and tribunals, as if they had never been committed, saving to third persons their right to reparation, by civil action, for injury to them.'Clemency had been guilty of theft, in a time of great scarcity; and was amnestied. She afterwards committed the same offence, and the prosecution insisted on inflicting upon her the accumulated penalties due to a repetition of the offence. But the court held that the first offence had been so completely annihilated by the amnesty, that it could not be considered in law as having ever existed or been committed, insomuch that the offence for which she was then prosecuted, though in reality a repetition of the first, could be considered in law only as a first offence, and punished as such.

Girardin was married in 1822. In 1834, by judgment of the court of assizes of the department to which he belonged, he was condemned by default, and sentenced to death for some political offence; and civil death was a consequence of that judgment. In 1840, an amnesty was declared by royal ordinance, in favor of all under condemnation for political crimes or offences.

Supposing, as the effect of the civil death pronounced against him operated a dissolution of his marriage, that it was necessary to have it celebrated anew, Girardin instituted some proceeding, in the nature of a mandamus, against the mayor of his town, to compel the performance of the marriage ceremony; and the court of first instance ordered the new celebration to take place.

The mayor appealed; and the royal court reversed the decision, upon the ground that:

'The amnesty had annihilated the sentence pronounced against Girardin, had abolished the past, and had reintegrated the amnestied in the plenitude of his civil life; that, consequently, he is to be regarded as having never been deprived of civil life; and that the new celebration would be in some sort an act of derision, and contrary in every respect to the sanctity of marriage.' [33]

By writ of error, Girardin sought, in the Court of Cassation, the highest judicial tribunal in France, a reversal of the judgment of the royal court. But the Court of Cassation rejected the writ of error, and affirmed the judgment of the royal court. The court say:

'Since the object of the amnesty is to efface, completely, the past-that is to say, to replace the amnestied in the position in which they were before the condemnation had been incurred, it follows that it produces the complete re-establishment of the amnestied in the enjoyment of the rights which they had before the condemnation, saving the rights of third persons.' [34]

It may be said generally, we think, that pardon is usually granted to an individual; amnesty to a class of persons, or to a whole community. Pardon usually follows conviction, and then its effect is to remit the penalty. Amnesty usually precedes, but it may follow trial and conviction, and its effect is to obliterate the past, to leave no trace of the offence, and to place the offender exactly in the position which he occupied before the offence was committed, or in which he would have been if he had not committed the offence.

II. The President had the right to grant an amnesty. The Constitution gives him unlimited power in respect to pardon, save only in cases of impeachment. The Constitution does not say what sort of pardon; but the term being generic necessarily includes every species of pardon, individual as well as general, conditional as well as absolute. It is, therefore, within the power of the President to limit his pardon, as in those cases in which it is individual and after conviction, to the mere release of the penalty-it is equally within his prerogative to extend it so as to include a whole class of offenders-to interpose this act of clemency before trial or conviction; and not merely to take away the penalty, but to forgive and obliterate the offence.

It is worthy of remark, that Congress stands committed as to the extent of the pardoning power, and the mode of exercising that power by proclamation. By the act approved 17th July, 1862, entitled 'An act to suppress insurrection,' &c., section 13, it is declared, that

'The President is hereby authorized, at any time hereafter, by proclamation, to extend to persons who may have participated in the existing Rebellion in any State or part thereof, pardon and amnesty, with such exceptions and at such time and on such conditions as he may deem expedient for the public welfare.'

Gentlemen present themselves here who were once practitioners before this court, but who confess in form that they have been traitors, and virtually confess that they have forfeited the privileges which they had under the rules of this court. Confessing all this, they maintain their right to take the original oath again, and to come back to practise before this court because they have been pardoned by the President.

Who is a counsellor or attorney? Opposing counsel seem to think that a man has a natural right to practise law; the same sort of right that he has to locomotion, and even to life. But this, we submit, is not so. The last-mentioned rights were given to us by the Creator; and government is made to preserve them. The government does not give the right to life, nor the right to locomotion, though it protects us all in the exercise of both. We sometimes call the privilege to practise law a right, but this is a mere manner of speaking; for it is, in truth, but a privilege; a privilege created by the law; held under the law, and according to the terms and conditions prescribed in the law. Not being a natural right, and one so protected, but a right received, and upon conditions and terms, the question in this case is, can the legislature or this court prescribe such conditions as are stated in this oath?

Whence came the power of this court to exact of an attorney an oath of any kind? No oath is prescribed in the Constitution, nor in the Judiciary Act of 1789. Whence comes the power? Under the act of 1789 this court is doubtless vested with the power to prescribe one. Under that power this court prescribed the old [35] oath. But why that oath any more than any other oath? What part of the Constitution restrains the court to the point of prescribing this oath, and this oath only? None. Then if the court could prescribe this old oath, can it not prescribe another and different oath? No, say opposing counsel, it cannot; and especially it cannot prescribe a retroactive oath.

But really there is no retroaction about this law. Every qualification is retroactive in one sense. A man presents himself to qualify under the old rule as a counsellor and attorney of this court. What is the question? It is as to his past life, as to his past conduct, and as to his then sufficiency because of his past life and past conduct. His 'private and professional character shall appear to be fair,' said the rule. Moreover, we submit that every man stands here with a continuing condition of that sort upon him. The condition attaches every hour in which any man stands before the courts. It is not simply that he is, at the time he takes it, a man whose private and professional character appears fair. Could any gentleman, having committed yesterday an offence for which, if the court knew when he was admitted that he had been guilty of, he would not have been admtted-could he stand here to-day and contend that an exclusion on account of that offence would be retroactive? The qualification does not infer as a necessity that the counsellor admitted will both then and for all future time be qualified. He may disqualify himself. Being once qualified, he must live up to that rule which qualified him at the first. Suppose a member of the bar of this court, having been once qualified for admission, were guilty of perjury before this court, does he ever afterwards continue qualified? There is, then, nothing retroactive in this qualification.

Is it a penalty? No; only a qualification. Take it as an original matter, say the opposing counsel, it is one thing; take it as a question retroactive, it is another thing. But it is always an original question whether this court cannot change its rules and repeat the qualification, either as to moral qualities, as to professional skill and ability, and even as to political crimes. Who doubts that it is competent for the court to-morrow morning to read a rule here that shall require every gentleman who practises at this bar to submit his pretensions for sufficiency over again? But the power to make the rule contains the power to repeal the rule; the power to make the rule and repeal the rule contains the power to modify and to change the rule as the court may see proper to do.

Under the act of 1789, then, it was competent for this court, by the authority given under that act, to pass such a rule as that objected to, and to make such a rule applicable not only to those who present themselves in the future, but applicable to all who appear here with a previous license to practise law.

But if under the act of 1789 the court cannot make the rule, we have the act of Congress of 24th January, 1865. Cannot the legislature prescribe the qualifications which the counsellor shall have; the length of time he shall have been at the bar; the number of books, or the very books, that he shall have read and understood; that he shall not practise in this court at all, unless he shall have practised in the Federal courts in the several States; that he may practise in this court though he had never appeared before the Supreme Court of a State? Where is the limit? Congress has the power. How can you limit that power? Can you limit it because Congress may abuse that power? Opposing counsel argue about this government becoming a government of faction, a government of party, &c., if these powers exist in Congress. This court has said too often, and it is too familiar to the judges for me to do more than mention it, that the fact that a power may be abused is no argument against its existence.

It is said Congress cannot exact such an oath of office from attorneys, or from any one else; but on the face of the Constitution there is such a power given. The word 'oath' occurs but three times in the Constitution; once it prescribes an oath to be taken by the President; next, it is declared that the senators and representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; 'but no religious test, it is ordained, shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.' Why this exception? Simply because the framers of the instrument knew that if the exception was not put in the instrument, there would be the ability to require a religious test. That one sort of oath alone is forbidden by the Constitution. From that provision it is to be inferred that other oaths may be exacted. The inference extends to senators and members of the House of Representatives; it even reaches to that point-a point not now before the court. Some persons have argued that this oath in the Constitution cannot be changed by the Senate or House of Representatives; that all the Senate or House have to do, is to inquire as to the age and residence of the party. Have not the Senate a right to go beyond that? Have they not the right to expel a man from the body? Take the case of Breckenridge, who was expelled; the Senate recording upon its journals that he was a traitor. Could that man present credentials, and demand that he should be formally admitted, even though he might be again expelled? It was in our view of the Constitution that Chief Justice Marshall, in McCulloch v. The State of Maryland, [36] says, that the man would be insane who should say that Congress had not the power to require any other oath of office than the one mentioned in the Constitution.

As to the expediency and the propriety of passing such an act as that of 24th January, 1865, that involves a question of duty in Congress, with which this court has nothing to do. It would seem that, in times such as we have had, some oath ought to be required that would keep from this bench and from this bar men who had been guilty, and were then guilty, of treason. There was a late associate justice upon this bench, a gentleman for whom personally all had high regard. He left this bench and went off to the Confederacy. Suppose he had not resigned; suppose that this judge had come back here and demanded to take his seat on the bench; could you have received him in your conference-room either pardoned or unpardoned? Would the court regard itself as discharging its duty, if it took him into conference, guilty, as he confessed himself to be, of treason? I know that the court would not.

Will the judges admit men to minister at the bar of justice, whom they would not admit like men among themselves? Will they say that it is unconstitutional to keep such men from the bar by an oath like this, but that it is quite constitutional to keep them from the bench? If a man has a right, without taking this oath, to come here among us, and stand at this bar, and exercise all the functions of an attorney and counsellor in this court because he has a pardon, would not a judge, though guilty confessedly of treason, have a like right to return to the bench;-if he had been pardoned? Why could he not do it? Only because this thing of office, this thing of privilege, is a creature of law, and not a natural right. Being a creature of law, no man can, like a parricide, stab that law, and claim at the same time all its privileges and all its honors. He would destroy the very government for which he asserts a right to act. This he cannot do. The case of Cohen v. Wright [37] bears strongly in our favor. There the constitution of California prescribed an oath, to be taken by 'members of the legislature and all officers, executive and judicial.' It then declared that 'no other oath, declaration, or test, shall be required as a qualification for any office or public trust.' On the 25th April, 1863, the legislature passed an act, declaring that a defendant in any suit pending in a court of record might object to the loyalty of the plaintiff; and thereupon the plaintiff should take an oath, in addition to other things, that he had not, since the passage of the act, aided or encouraged the Confederate States in their rebellion, and that he would not do so in the future. In default of his taking the oath, his suit should be absolutely dismissed, and no other suit should be maintained by himself, his grantee, or assigns, for the same cause of action. All attorneys-at-law were required to take the same oath, and file it in the county clerk's office of their respective counties; and to practise without taking it, was declared a misdemeanor. A few days after the passage of the act, an action of assumpsit was brought in one of the courts on a contract, which, as would seem from the opinion in the case, existed at and before the passage of the act. The plaintiff was required to take the oath; and having refused to do so, his case was dismissed, and judgment rendered that it should not again be brought. The attorney appearing in the cause refused to take the oath, and he was debarred. Both questions were passed on by the Supreme Court, and the oath sustained as equally applicable to both litigants and attorneys. The court say, in reference to attorneys, that the legislature 'has the power to regulate as well as to suppress particular branches of busines deemed by it immoral and prejudicial to the general good. The duty of government comprehends the moral as well as the physical welfare of the state.' In reference to the objection that litigants are deprived of rights by a process not known as 'due process of law,' which is guaranteed by the California constitution, the court say: 'As one State of the Union, California has the right to deny the use of her courts to those who have committed or intended to commit treason against the nation.'

The California case, indeed, was, we admit, decided on a prospective statute; and the court, in that case, say there would be a doubt if it was retroactive. Upon that subject. as we have said before, we have no doubt; because the license and privilege of every gentleman here, at the bar, is upon a continuing condition, and is subject to the power of this court, subject to the power of Congress to change the rule, there being no natural, inalienable right to occupy the position.

Mr. Stanbery, special counsel of the United States, on the same side, and against the petitioner:

I. A pardon is not, as argued, all-absorbing. It does not protect the party from all the consequences of his act. What is the old Latin maxim that governs pardon? Rex non potest dare gratiam cum injuri a et damno aliorum. A pardon, while it absolves the offender, does not touch the rights of others. Suppose that there is a penal statute against an offence, and the policy of the law being to detect the offender, there is a promise of reward to the informer, upon his conviction, to be had. If a pardon is given to that offender, what is the consequence upon the informer, who draws his right simply out of the offence and the conviction of the offence? Does it take away his right to the fine, or the liability to pay him the fine? If the fine is half to the informer and half to the public, what is the effect? The half to the public is gone, but the half to the informer is not gone. There is one consequence arising out of the offence that the pardon does not reach.

Put another case. Suppose a man is indicted and sent to the penitentiary for life, and that the consequence of the confinement is declared by law to be that he is civiliter mortuus-dead in the estimation of the law. During his confinement his wife is released from the bonds of matrimony. She is a widow in the estimation of the law; her husband is dead, so far as the law can see. She marries again. After all that comes executive clemency, makes the offender a new man, pardons the offence, and, if you please, all the consequences. The man is no longer civiliter mortuus; again he is probus legalis, or legalis homo; but shall he have his wife, however willing she may be? Does this pardon divorce the newly-married parties, and annul their marriage? Does it make the first husband just the man he was, and with all the rights he had when he committed the offence? No.

Suppose it is some ecclesiastical penalty that has been incurred; that some incumbent has lost his office as a part of the punishment of the offence, and afterwards the king chooses to pardon him. What does Baron Comyns say, in that case, as to restoration to rights? [38]

'A pardon to the parson of a church of all contempts for acceptance of a plurality does not restore him to the former church.'

'So a pardon does not discharge a thing consequent, in which a subject has an interest vested in him; as if costs are taxed in a spiritual court, a pardon of the offence does not discharge the costs.'

Pardon is forgiveness, but not necessarily restoration; it restores many things-not all things. For centuries, it has been a question in England, whether a pardon makes a man fit to sit in the jury-box, where the offence involves a forfeiture of his right to sit in the jury-box; and so whether a pardon restores a man to competency as a witness, when the crime of which he stands convicted excludes him from being a witness? On that question, I should suppose that much depends on the terms of the pardon.

What are the rights of this court and the rights of Congress, also, with regard to those who are to practise here? There are certain things in which neither the executive department nor yet the legislative department can interfere with this bench; and I am glad it is so. No law can deprive your honors of your places here during life or good behavior. No President can remove a judge from this bench; and thank God it is so. No law of Congress can remove a judge from this bench. I know there have been laws of Congress that have removed United States judges from lower benches than this, but their validity has been always questioned. But no Congress has ever dared to pass a law to remove a judge from this bench, or to abolish this bench, or change the structure of the Supreme Court of the United States.

What next? Congress, it is certain, cannot interfere with your proper judicial functions. Wherever anything is commanded of you by Congress that interferes with the upright and impartial and unfettered judicial authority that you have, such a law is void, and invades your department, just as distinct and unassailable as the power of Congress itself or the executive power itself; so that if this law, which prescribes an oath to be taken by counsellors of this court, invades the proper and exclusive power of this court-if Congress has no right to say what lawyers shall practise here or what shall be their qualifications-if that is a matter exclusively for this court, then, undoubtedly and beyond all question, this is a void law.

But let us consider what Congress may really do with regard to this court and with regard to its officers; let us see the great field over which legislation walks undisturbed in reference to it. Who made this number of ten judges here? Congress. And they can put twelve here, or twenty, if they see fit. One they cannot take from here by act of Congress, but only by impeachment after due trial. What further can they not do? They fix your salaries; but the moment the law is passed and approved, the salary so fixed is beyond their power to reduce, not to increase. They may force the judges to take more, but they cannot require them to take a dollar less.

What next can they do? This court sits here in this Capitol. Is that not by authority of law? Why is there a chief justice to preside here? Was he made by this bench? Not at all; but made by law. Why are the judges sitting here now to hold a term? Of their own motion? Not at all; but under the authority of law. Why are the judges required to visit all the circuits, at great personal inconvenience perhaps? On their own motion? No; by authority of law.

Passing from the bench. What is the clerk? An officer of this court, appointed by this court; but under what authority? By law. Who pays him? He is paid by law. What is he? An office merely of this court, or an officer of the United States under the laws of the United States? He is the latter in every respect. Then, your marshal; who sends him here, and compels him to be here? Congress. It is by authority of law. All the machinery of the court, so far as its officers are concerned, comes to you by statute. The statute says you shall have one marshal, not two; one clerk, not three.

A class remains; the attorneys and counsellors that practise here. Under what authority is it that we have attorneys and counsellors here, and that they have rights to be heard here? Did your honors give us these rights? Is it by grant from this court that there are counsellors and attorneys here? No. It comes by act of Congress. The Constitution is silent upon it. The word 'attorney' is not mentioned, and the word 'counsel' is only mentioned in it as the right of a person accused of crime. It is an act of Congress that creates us and gives us the right to appear here as attorneys and counsellors at law under certain limitations. Congress has imposed very few upon us. Congress very wisely have given to the court the power to receive or to exclude, and to lay down the terms upon which a counsellor shall be admitted.

But when you are exercising that power with regard to attorneys and counsellors you are exercising a power granted by Congress, and we stand here as attorneys under that law and say to your honors, 'Admit us; here are all the things that you have required and all that the law has required; admit us.' Is it not so, that in everything in which Congress has given you the power over us, to admit us or to exclude us, you get that power by law? Who prescribes the oath of the attorney? Is that left to the court merely, or has that been exercised by Congress? The original oath required of attorneys is not found in the Constitution. The Constitution, upon the subject of oaths to be administered, relates only to oaths of office of persons appointed or elected to office under the Federal authority. Attorneys, as it is admitted on the other side, are not such officers, and the oath pointed out by the Constitution has nothing to do with lawyers. But Congress undertook, in the original Judiciary Act, to say that in all courts of the United States the parties may plead and manage their own causes personally, 'or by the assistance of such counsel or attorneys-at-law as by the rules of the said courts respectively shall be permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.' Congress gives power to the court to prescribe the oath; and to exercise over its counsel all wholesome control.

What further may Congress do? If under the authority thus given to you over attorneys you have a right to prescribe an additional oath, may not Congress do the same thing? Is there any constitutional objection there? Has Congress exhausted all its power with reference to such a body of men as attorneys and counsellors in the courts of the United States, so that it can do nothing further and lay down no further rule for admission or exclusion, for oath, for bond, for security? Not at all. The very first exercise of the power under which we take our first right to be attorneys and counsellors here remains; it is not exhausted; and no one can assign any reason at this moment why Congress, in its power over the attorneys and counsellors of this court, may not prescribe rules of admission, residence, and a thousand other things, that might be fixed under a constitution like ours. In the States we do not leave so much to our courts in regard to attorneys and counsellors as Congress has, very wisely, I think, left to this court. We prescribe almost everything there by statute; fix all the qualifications through the legislative department, to be observed as to those who practise before the judicial department.

Then I take it as clear, so far as these persons are concerned, these attorneys and counsellors at law, that there is a power in this court to prescribe oaths and additional oaths, and just as clear a power in Congress to prescribe oaths and additional oaths.

Having shown that the subject-matter of an oath to be taken by attorneys and counsellors of this court is within the competency of legislative authority and regulation, quite as fully as it is within the competency of this court by virtue of the Judiciary Act; having shown that there is no constitutional objection to the exercise of this power by Congress, and that the only possible objection that can be taken to it, is that Congress has once exercised the power by law; when I have shown that that exercise of power did not exhaust the power of the legislature, then I have shown that so far this is a valid law and a valid oath. All that it is necessary for me to say is this: if the rule is valid, the law, which has somewhat more of solemnity and force than a rule, is equally valid. I do not ask for it any greater validity, but equality, so far as mere validity is concerned in the passage of the law or the passage of the rule. If I am right here, what will the bench say to a pardon of the President, who, when a lawyer is ejected from this court as unfit to practise here, grants a pardon for the very offence for which the court has ejected him? For instance, the lawyer may have committed forgery or perjury, things which make a man, when convicted of them, very unfit to practise as an attorney and counsellor at law. In consequence of that, the court may disbar him. Then the President pardons him, absolves him from the conviction of prejury and forgery, and, according to the position of the opposite side, restores him at once to his right to be here, and defies the rule which you have made, and your authority to exclude him. If that cannot be done in opposition to a rule, can the same thing be done in opposition to a law passed by the legislative body that had authority over the subject-matter? Clearly not.

II. Now, passing over the question of the power of Congress to do it, was it not eminently fit that such a law should be passed at the time; that Congress, then charged with the duty of saving the country, should exclude from its courts members of the bar in actual rebellion against it? It was eminently proper then. What! only exclude those who have not yet committed treason, and make them swear that they will not commit treason; and have no power to exclude those who have committed treason, and who come to demand as a right to practise here, with the admission on their lips that they are traitors, and, if you please, mean to continue traitors; for I am speaking of the thing as it was in 1862, when that law was passed. What! after treason is committed, and the traitor comes here flagrante delicto, without pardon, if you please, asking no clemency, comes here to practise law, and this oath is opposed to him, he says, 'It does not bind me; I have committed treason, it is true; I have never recanted; I have not been pardoned; but that oath is unconstitutional, so far as I am concerned, and takes away my high privilege of practising in this court at this time.' He says that it is ex post facto and void, because it makes a thing a crime which was not a crime at the time! Does it impose a criminal penalty with regard to penal matters? That is the meaning of penalty in that sense. We have now here before us a law that simply says, that a party who has committed a certain act shall not practise law in the courts of the United States. Is that making a new crime? Is that adding a new penalty in the sense of criminal penalties? Not at all. The act prescribing the oath does not say, that when a man comes here and admits that he has committed the offence, the court shall try and punish him for that offence. It says, that in order to practise he shall take an oath that he has never committed treason, that he has never joined the Rebellion. That is all. He may take the oath or not as he pleases. No one compels him to take it. Is it a penalty, when he must invoke the penalty on his own head if there is penalty? That oath does not punish him, nor authorize anybody to punish him, nor say that he has done anything heretofore that is punishable in the sense of crime or delict. He may stay away; no one can touch him. He may choose to practise in the State courts; and that is well. All that the law says is, 'If you come here, we require you, before we give you the privilege to appear in this court, to state under oath that you have not been in rebellion against this government.' That is the whole of it.

Mr. Reverdy Johnson, in reply, for the petitioner:

I. The ninth clause of the first article of the Constitution declares that no 'ex post facto law shall be passed.' So solicitous were the framers of the Constitution to prohibit the enactment of such laws, that they imposed upon every State government the same restriction. They considered laws of that character to be 'contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.' So says Mr. Madison in the 44th number of the Federalist. In the same number he tells us that, however obvious this is, 'Our own experience has taught us nevertheless that additional fences against these dangers ought not to be omitted. Very properly, therefore, have the convention added this constitutional bulwark in favor of personal security and private rights.' Mr. Hamilton, in the 78th number of the same work, advocates the necessity of an independent judiciary, upon the ground of its being 'essential in a limited constitution,' and adds: 'By a limited constitution I understand one which contains certain specified exceptions to the legislative authority, such, for instance, as that it shall pass no bills of attainder, no ex post facto laws, and the like. Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice in no other way than through the medium of the courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts, contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution, void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing.' Is not the act in question, in its application to Mr. Garland, an ex post facto law? These terms are technical, and were known to the common law of England when the Constitution was adopted. Their meaning, too, was then well understood. An English writer says that such a law is one 'made to meet a particular offence committed.' Another defines it to be 'a law enacted purposely to take cognizance of an offence already committed.' The same meaning was given to it as early as 1798, in Calder v. Bull. [39] And in the subsequent case of Fletcher v. Peck, [40] it was again defined and adjudged to be a law which renders 'an act punishable in a manner in which it was not punishable when it was committed.' This definition, as is truly said by Chancellor Kent, is 'distinguished for its comprehensive brevity and precision;' and Kent correctly tells us that 'laws passed after the act, and affecting a person by way of punishment, either in his person or estate, are within the definition.' [41]

The design, therefore, of this restriction was to prohibit legislation punishing a man, either in his person or estate, for an act for which there was no punishment provided when the act was done, or from imposing an additional punishment to that which was then imposed, or to supply a deficiency of legal proof by admitting testimony less than that before required, or testimony which the courts were before prohibited from admitting. With this understanding of the term, is not the act of 1865 an ex post facto law? Does it not punish Mr. Garland for an act in a manner in which he was not punishable when it was committed? Does it not punish him in fact? Educated for the profession, his hopes centred in his success in it, his highest ambition being to share its honors, his support and that of his family depending upon success; can any man doubt that a law which deprives him of the right to pursue that profession, which defeats such hopes, which deprives him of the opportunity to gratify so noble an ambition, and which deprives him of the means of supporting himself and those dependent upon him, inflicts a severe, cruel, and heretofore in this country an unexampled punishment?

Our statutes, indeed, are full of provisions showing that, in the judgment of Congress, similar consequences are punishments to be inflicted for crime. Disfranchisement of the privilege of holding offices of honor, trust, or profit, is imposed as a punishment upon those who are convicted of bribery, forgery, and many other offences. And how crushing is such punishment! To be excluded from the public service makes the man virtually an exile in his native land; an alien in his own country; and whilst subjecting him to all the obligations of the Constitution, holds him to strict allegiance and denies him some of its most important advantages. Can the imagination of man conceive a punishment greater than this? And this is not only the effect of the act, but such was its obvious and declared purpose. When it was passed the country was engaged in a civil war of unexampled magnitude, begun and waged for the purpose of destroying the very life of the nation, of dissevering the government which our fathers provided for its preservation. In 1865 nearly all the members of the legal profession in the Southern States had adopted the heresy of secession as a constitutional right, and were, or had been, either in the military or civil service of the Confederate government, or had given voluntary 'aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility' to the United States, or had yielded a voluntary support to some 'pretended government, authority, power, or constitution within the United States hostile or inimical to the same;' and this was known to Congress. However criminal such conduct may have been; however liable the parties were to prosecution and punishment by the laws then in force, the particular punishment inflicted by the act of 1865 could not have been awarded. That act does not repeal the laws by which such conduct was then punishable, but imposes (and such was its sole and avowed purpose) the additional punishment of disfranchisement. The law assumes that the acts which the oath it prescribes is to deny, have been done by lawyers, and that such acts are crimes to be punished by a denial or forfeiture of their right to appear as counsel in the courts of the Union. Its very design, therefore, and its effect is to inflict a punishment for the imputed crime additional to that which the laws in force when the crime was committed provided. It falls, then, within the conceded definition of an ex post facto law, and is therefore void. It is also obnoxious to the same objection, because it changes 'the legal rules of evidence and receives different testimony than was requisite for the conviction of the offender at the time the offence was perpetrated.' [42] This is evident. The offence imputed is treason, of which the party at the time of its commission could not have been convicted by refusing to take such an oath as this act requires, or any other, but only upon 'the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.' [43]

II. The act is also in conflict with that part of the fifth article of the amendments of the Constitution which provides that no person 'shall be compelled, in any criminal case, to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.'

Within the meaning of the first part of this clause, every charge of crime against a party constitutes a 'criminal case.' No matter how made, if it becomes a subject of legal inquiry, the party cannot be compelled to testify. The purpose is to prevent his being called upon to prove his guilt; to prevent his being examined in relation to it against his will. Any law, therefore, which, in terms or in effect, makes him 'a witness against himself' is within the clause. That a law directly compelling him to testify would be within it, will be admitted; and it is a rule of construction especially applicable to a constitutional provision intended for the protection of the citizen, that what cannot be done directly, cannot be done indirectly. Where the protection is intended to be complete, it cannot be defeated by any evasion. What, in this particular, does this law provide? It does not say that Mr. Garland shall be compelled 'to be a witness against himself;' but it does the same thing by providing that his guilt is to be considered conclusively established unless he will swear to his innocence. His refusal to swear that he is not guilty is made the evidence of his guilt, and has the same operation as his admission of his guilt. If this is not a clear evasion of the clause, and fatal to the protection it is designed to afford, there can be no evasion of it. The law in question says, that unless the lawyer, who is already a counsellor, will swear to his innocence of the imputed acts, he shall not continue to be such counsellor, or, if he was not before one, he shall not be admitted to that right. It constitutes, therefore, his oath the evidence of his innocence, and his refusal to take it conclusive evidence of his guilt. That this is its effect, if authority be needed, is decided in the Pennsylvania case of Respublica and Gibbs, [44] and the Rhode Island case of Green and Briggs. [45] The reasoning upon the point in those cases, and especially that of Pittman, J., in the latter case, is conclusive.

And here allow me to read an extract from a speech of the late Lord Erskine. [46] It was made during the troubles we had with England and France, growing out of the Berlin and Milan decrees, and the orders in council. It was said there that parties were not obliged to do what those laws required, and as they were not obliged the laws did them no harm. Lord Erskine replied:

'Is it not adding insult to injury to say to America that her shipping is not compelled to come into our ports, since they may return back again! Let us suppose that his majesty had been advised, while I was a practiser at the bar, to issue a proclamation that no barrister should go into Westminster Hall without passing through a particular gate at which a tax was to be levied on him. Should I have been told gravely that I was by no means compelled by such a proclamation to pass through it? Should I have been told that I might go back again to my chambers with briefs, and sleep there in my empty bag, if I liked? Would it be an answer to a market gardener in the neighborhood of London, if compelled to pass a similar gate erected in every passage to Covent Garden, that he was by no means compelled to bring his greens to market, as he might stay at home with his family and starve?'

And that is what we are practically told is the ground on which this law is to be upheld. The right to be a counsellor in this court, it is said, is not a natural right; that it grows out of legislation; that it may be given, or it may not be given; and as it may not be given, the legislature (in whom the power is supposed to reside), if it thinks proper to give it at all, may give it on such terms as it may prescribe; and opposing counsel apply that doctrine even to a case in which the right exists, for that is the condition of the gentleman whom I am here representing. He has got your judgment, and the legislature undertakes to say to him, 'You shall no longer enjoy that right, unless you will swear that you have not done the things stated in the oath which we require you to take;' and he is gravely told, 'You are not obliged to take it.' Certainly, he is not obliged to take it. No man is obliged to follow his occupation; but unless he takes it he must starve, except he have other means of living.

III. The act is void, because it interferes with the rights and powers conferred on the judicial department of the government by the third article of the Constitution. By that article the entire judicial power of the United States is vested in 'one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish, and the judges are to hold their 'office during good behavior," receiving a compensation for their services which cannot be diminished.

When the Constitution was adopted, it was well known that courts could not properly discharge their functions without the aid of counsel; and it was equally well known that such a class of men, in a free government, was absolutely necessary to the protection of the citizen and the defence of constitutional liberty, whenever these might be involved, as history had proved they often were, in prosecutions instituted by government. The existence and necessity of this class, for the protection of the citizen, is recognized in the amendment last referred to, securing to the accused, in a criminal prosecution, 'the assistance of counsel for his defence.' And, further, by the thirty-fifth section of the Judiciary Act, passed by a Congress in which were many of the distinguished men who framed the Constitution, parties are secured 'the assistance of such counsel or attorneys-at-law as, by the rules of the said courts (courts of the United States), respectively, shall be permitted to manage and conduct causes therein.' As before stated, Mr. Garland, having complied with the terms of your second rule, was admitted as a counsellor of this court. Has Congress the authority to reverse that judgment without this court's assent? This the act does, if it be compulsory upon the court. The decision in Ex parte Secombe [47] is, that the relations between a court of the United States and the attorneys and counsellors who practise in it, and their respective rights and duties, are regulated by the common law; and that it has been well settled by the rules and practice of common law courts, that it rests exclusively with the court to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers as an attorney and counsellor, and for what cause he ought to be removed. Let us consider this question for a few moments.

1st. The admission of counsel, and dismissal when admitted, is evidently, by the act of 1789, esteemed a power inherent in the courts, and to be exercised by them alone; and in the decision just quoted, it is held to be one resting 'exclusively' with the courts. This being so, the propriety of its exercise cannot be questioned by any other department of the government. Belonging exclusively to the courts, their judgment is conclusive.

2d. If this was not the rule, and Congress has authority to interfere with or revise such judgments, if they can annul them by legislation, as is done by the act in question, then they possess a power which may be so used as to take from the courts the benefit of counsel, and thereby necessarily defeat the right secured to the accused in criminal prosecutions, of having 'the assistance of counsel for his defence.' A power of this description is, I submit, wholly inconsistent with the jurisdiction conferred upon the judicial department of the government, and fatal to the objects for which that department was created, and is directly in conflict with the provision of the amendment just referred to.

IV. If I understand the Attorney-General, the only ground upon which he maintains the validity of the act of 1865, is that the right to be attorneys and counsellors of this court, or of any court of the United States, is not a natural one, but one given by law only; a right to be regulated at any time by law, or not be given at all, or, when given, to be at any time taken away. Without stopping to inquire whether these propositions are correct, I deny, with perfect confidence, that Congress can prohibit the appearance of counsel in the courts of the Union. The sixth amendment of the Constitution, before quoted, secures to the accused, in a criminal case, 'the assistance of counsel for his defense.' This security is, therefore, not dependent upon, or subject to, the power of Congress. They have no more authority to deny an accused the assistance of counsel, than they have to deny him a jury trial; or the right 'to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation;' or 'to be confronted with the witnesses against him;' or 'to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor.' The right to have counsel is as effectually secured as is either of the other rights given by the amendment. If that, therefore, can be taken away or impaired by legislation, either or all of the other rights can be so taken away or impaired. It is true that courts, by the common law, possess authority to adopt rules for the admission of counsel; but this is to enable them, for their own advantage and the benefit and protection of suitors, to obtain, not to exclude, lawyers of competent legal learning and of fair character. They have no right to use the power so as to exclude them. On the contrary, it is one which it is their duty to execute to obtain competent counsel. It would be not only in conflict with the Constitution, but inconsistent with the principles of a free government, that there should exist a power to deny counsel. In a free country, courts without counsel could not for a moment be tolerated. The history of every such government demonstrates that the safety of the citizen greatly depends upon the existence of such a class of men. The courts also require, for the safe and correct exercise of their own powers, their aid. The preservation of liberty itself demands counsel. In all the revolutionary struggles of the past to attain or retain liberty, success, where it has been achieved, has been ever owing greatly, if not principally, to their patriotic efforts. Congress would, therefore, but convert themselves into a mere assemblage of tyrants, regardless of the safety of the citizen, recreant to the cause of freedom, and forgetful of the guarantees of the Constitution, if they attempted to deny to the courts and to the citizen the assistance of counsel.

V. Conceding, for argument sake, the constitutionality of the act, Mr. Garland is saved from its operation by the President's pardon, with the terms of which he has complied. By the second section of the second article of the Constitution, power is given to the President 'to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.' With that exception the power is unlimited. It extends to every offence, and is intended to relieve the party who may have committed it or who may be charged with its commission, from all the punishments of every description that the law, at the time of the pardon, imposes.

That the law in question is a penal one I have already proved. That the penalty which it imposes is for the offence imputed to Mr. Garland, and of which he was technically guilty, is also, I hope, made clear; for the offence is the one assumed by the law, and in denying to him the right to continue a counsellor of this court, that denial was designed as penalty. This being the design and effect of the law, there can be no possible doubt that Mr. Garland is saved from that penalty by his pardon.

May it please the court, every right-minded man-I should think every man who has within his bosom a heart capable of sympathy-who is not the slave to a narrow political feeling-a feeling that does not embrace, as it ought to do, a nation's happiness-must make it the subject of his daily thoughts and of his prayers to God, that the hour may come, and come soon, when all the States shall be again within the protecting shelter of the Union; enjoying, all of them, its benefits, contented and happy and prosperous; sharing all of them, in its duties; devoted, all, to its principles, and participating alike in its renown; that hour when former differences shall be forgotten, and nothing remembered but our ancient concord and the equal title we have to share in the glories of the past, and to labor together for the even greater glories of the future. And may I not, with truth, assure your honors that this result will be hastened by the bringing within these courts of the United States, a class of men, now excluded, who, by education, character, and profession are especially qualified by their example to influence the public sentiment of their respective States, and to bring these States to the complete conviction which, it is believed, they most largely entertain-that to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the government constituted by it, in all its rightful authority, is not only essential to their people's happiness and freedom, but is a duty to their country and their God.

Mr. Justice FIELD delivered the opinion of the court.

On the second of July, 1862, Congress passed an act prescribing an oath to be taken by every person elected or appointed to any office of honor or profit under the government of the United States, either in the civil, military, or naval departments of the public service, except the President, before entering upon the duties of his office, and before being entitled to its salary, or other emoluments. On the 24th of January, 1865, Congress, by a supplementary act, extended its provisions so as to embrace attorneys and counsellors of the courts of the United States. This latter act provides that after its passage no person shall be admitted as an attorney and counsellor to the bar of the Supreme Court, and, after the fourth of March, 1865, to the bar of any Circuit or District Court of the United States, or of the Court of Claims, or be allowed to appear and be heard by virtue of any previous admission, or any special power of attorney, unless he shall have first taken and subscribed the oath prescribed by the act of July 2d, 1862. It also provides that the oath shall be preserved among the files of the court; and if any person take it falsely he shall be guilty of perjury, and, upon conviction, shall be subject to the pains and penalties of that offence.

At the December Term, 1860, the petitioner was admitted as an attorney and counsellor of this court, and took and subscribed the oath then required. By the second rule, as it then existed, it was only requisite to the admission of attorneys and counsellors of this court, that they should have been such officers for the three previous years in the highest courts of the States to which they respectively belonged, and that their private and professional character should appear to be fair.

In March, 1865, this rule was changed by the addition of a clause requiring the administration of the oath, in conformity with the act of Congress.

In May, 1861, the State of Arkansas, of which the petitioner was a citizen, passed an ordinance of secession, which purported to withdraw the State from the Union, and afterwards, in the same year, by another ordinance, attached herself to the so-called Confederate States, and by act of the congress of that confederacy was received as one of its members.

The petitioner followed the State, and was one of her representatives-first in the lower house, and afterwards in the senate, of the congress of that confederacy, and was a member of the senate at the time of the surrender of the Confederate forces to the armies of the United States.

In July, 1865, he received from the President of the United States a full pardon for all offences committed by his participation, direct or implied, in the Rebellion. He now produces his pardon, and asks permission to continue to practise as an attorney and counsellor of the court without taking the oath required by the act of January 24th, 1865, and the rule of the court, which he is unable to take, by reason of the offices he held under the Confederate government. He rests his application principally upon two grounds:

1st. That the act of January 24th, 1865, so far as it affects his status in the court, is unconstitutional and void; and,

2d. That, if the act be constitutional, he is released from compliance with its provisions by the pardon of the President.

The oath prescribed by the act is as follows:

1st. That the deponent has never voluntarily borne arms against the United States since he has been a citizen thereof;

2d. That he has not voluntarily given aid, countenance, counsel, or encouragement to persons engaged in armed hostility thereto;

3d. That he has never sought, accepted, or attempted to exercise the functions of any office whatsoever, under any authority, or pretended authority, in hostility to the United States;

4th. That he has not yielded a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, power, or constitution, within the United States, hostile or inimical thereto; and,

5th. That he will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.

This last clause is promissory only, and requires no consideration. The questions presented for our determination arise from the other clauses. These all relate to past acts. Some of these acts constituted, when they were committed, offences against the criminal laws of the country; others may, or may not, have been offences according to the circumstances under which they were committed, and the motives of the parties. The first clause covers one form of the crime of treason, and the deponent must declare that hs has not been guilty of this crime, not only during the war of the Rebellion, but during any period of his life since he has been a citizen. The second clause goes beyond the limits of treason, and embraces not only the giving of aid and encouragement of a treasonable nature to a public enemy, but also the giving of assistance of any kind to persons engaged in armed hostility to the United States. The third clause applies to the seeking, acceptance, or exercise not only of offices created for the purpose of more effectually carrying on hostilities, but also of any of those offices which are required in every community, whether in peace or war, for the administration of justice and the preservation of order. The fourth clause not only includes those who gave a cordial and active support to the hostile government, but also those who yielded a reluctant obedience to the existing order, established without their co-operation.

The statute is directed against parties who have offended in any of the particulars embraced by these clauses. And its object is to exclude them from the profession of the law, or at least from its practice in the courts of the United States. As the oath prescribed cannot be taken by these parties, the act, as against them, operates as a legislative decree of perpetual exclusion. And exclusion from any of the professions or any of the ordinary avocations of life for past conduct can be regarded in no other light than as punishment for such conduct. The exaction of the oath is the mode provided for ascertaining the parties upon whom the act is intended to operate, and instead of lessening, increases its objectionable character. All enactments of this kind partake of the nature of bills of pains and penalties, and are subject to the constitutional inhibition against the passage of bills of attainder, under which general designation they are included.

In the exclusion which the statute adjudges it imposes a punishment for some of the acts specified which were not punishable at the time they were committed; and for other of the acts it adds a new punishment to that before prescribed, and it is thus brought within the further inhibition of the Constitution against the passage of an ex post facto law. In the case of Cummings against The State of Missouri, just decided, we have had occasion to consider at length the meaning of a bill of attainder and of an ex post facto law in the clause of the Constitution forbidding their passage by the States, and it is unnecessary to repeat here what we there said. A like prohibition is contained in the Constitution against enactments of this kind by Congress; and the argument presented in that case against certain clauses of the constitution of Missouri is equally applicable to the act of Congress under consideration in this case.

The profession of an attorney and counsellor is not like an office created by an act of Congress, which depends for its continuance, its powers, and its emoluments upon the will of its creator, and the possession of which may be burdened with any conditions not prohibited by the Constitution. Attorneys and counsellors are not officers of the United States; they are not elected or appointed in the manner prescribed by the Constitution for the election and appointment of such officers. They are officers of the court, admitted as such by its order, upon evidence of their possessing sufficient legal learning and fair private character. It has been the general practice in this country to obtain this evidence by an examination of the parties. In this court the fact of the admission of such officers in the highest court of the States to which they respectively belong, for three years preceding their application, in regarded as sufficient evidence of the possession of the requisite legal learning, and the statement of counsel moving their admission sufficient evidence that their private and professional character is fair. The order of admission is the judgment of the court that the parties possess the requisite qualifications as attorneys and counsellors, and are entitled to appear as such and conduct causes therein. From its entry the parties become officers of the court, and are responsible to it for professional misconduct. They hold their office during good behavior, and can only be deprived of it for misconduct ascertained and declared by the judgment of the court after opportunity to be heard has been afforded. [48] Their admission or their exclusion is not the exercise of a mere ministerial power. It is the exercise of judicial power, and has been so held in numerous cases. It was so held by the Court of Appeals of New York in the matter of the application of Cooper for admission. [49] 'Attorneys and counsellors,' said that court, 'are not only officers of the court, but officers whose duties relate almost exclusively to proceedings of a judicial nature. And hence their appointment may, with propriety, be intrusted to the courts, and the latter in performing this duty may very justly be considered as engaged in the exercise of their appropriate judicial functions.'

In Ex parte Secombe, [50] a mandamus to the Supreme Court of the Territory of Minnesota to vacate an order removing an attorney and counsellor was denied by this court, on the ground that the removal was a judicial act. 'We are not aware of any case,' said the court, 'where a mandamus was issued to an inferior tribunal, commanding it to reverse or annul its decision, where the decision was in its nature a judicial act and within the scope of its jurisdiction and discretion.' And in the same case the court observed, that 'it has been well settled by the rules and practice of common law courts, that it rests exclusively with the court to determine who is qualified to become one of its officers, as an attorney and counsellor, and for what cause he ought to be removed.'

The attorney and counsellor being, by the solemn judicial act of the court, clothed with his office, does not hold it as a matter of grace and favor. The right which it confers upon him to appear for suitors, and to argue causes, is something more than a mere indulgence, revocable at the pleasure of the court, or at the command of the legislature. It is a right of which he can only be deprived by the judgment of the court, for moral or professional delinquency.

The legislature may undoubtedly prescribe qualifications for the office, to which he must conform, as it may, where it has exclusive jurisdiction, prescribe qualifications for the pursuit of any of the ordinary avocations of life. The question, in the case, is not as to the power of Congress to prescribe qualifications, but whether that power has been exercised as a means for the infliction of punishment, against the prohibition of the Constitution. That this result cannot be effected indirectly by a State under the form of creating qualifications we have held in the case of Cummings v. The State of Missouri, and the reasoning by which that conclusion was reached applies equally to similar action on the part of Congress.

This view is strengthened by a consideration of the effect of the pardon produced by the petitioner, and the nature of the pardoning power of the President.

The Constitution provides that the President 'shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.' [51]

The power thus conferred is unlimited, with the exception stated. It extends to every offence known to the law, and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken, or during their pendency, or after conviction and judgment. This power of the President is not subject to legislative control. Congress can neither limit the effect of his pardon, nor exclude from its exercise any class of offenders. The benign prerogative of mercy reposed in him cannot be fettered by any legislative restrictions.

Such being the case, the inquiry arises as to the effect and operation of a pardon, and on this point all the authorities concur. A pardon reaches both the punishment prescribed for the offence and the guilt of the offender; and when the pardon is full, it releases the punishment and blots out of existence the guilt, so that in the eye of the law the offender is as innocent as if he had never committed the offence. If granted before conviction, it prevents any of the penalties and disabilities consequent upon conviction from attaching; if granted after conviction, it removes the penalties and disabilities, and restores him to all his civil rights; it makes him, as it were, a new man, and gives him a new credit and capacity.

There is only this limitation to its operation: it does not restore offices forfeited, or property or interests vested in others in consequence of the conviction and judgment. [52]

The pardon produced by the petitioner is a full pardon 'for all offences by him committed, arising from participation, direct or implied, in the Rebellion,' and is subject to certain conditions which have been complied with. The effect of this pardon is to relieve the petitioner from all penalties and disabilities attached to the offence of treason, committed by his participation in the Rebellion. So far as that offence is concerned, he is thus placed beyond the reach of punishment of any kind. But to exclude him, by reason of that offence, from continuing in the enjoyment of a previously acquired right, is to enforce a punishment for that offence notwithstanding the pardon. If such exclusion can be effected by the exaction of an expurgatory oath covering the offence, the pardon may be avoided, and that accomplished indirectly which cannot be reached by direct legislation. It is not within the constitutional power of Congress thus to inflict punishment beyond the reach of executive clemency. From the petitioner, therefore, the oath required by the act of January 24th, 1865, could not be exacted, even if that act were not subject to any other objection than the one thus stated.

It follows, from the views expressed, that the prayer of the petitioner must be granted.

The case of R. H. Marr is similar, in its main features, to that of the petitioner, and his petition must also be granted.

And the amendment of the second rule of the court, which requires the oath prescribed by the act of January 24th, 1865, to be taken by attorneys and counsellors, having been un advisedly adopted, must be rescinded.

AND IT IS SO ORDERED.


Notes[edit]

^6  7 Howard, 283.

^7  Article iii, § 3.

^8  Article ii, § 2.

^9  7 Peters, 150.

^10  18 Howard, 315.

^12  Page 401.

^13  Pages 415-16, notes a and b.

^14  See, too, Gilbert on Evidence, 128; Brown v. Crashaw, 2 Bulstrode, 154; Wicks v. Smallbrooke, 1 Siderfin, 52.

^16  28 Pennsylvania State, 297.

^17  24 Pickering, 289.

^18  Jones v. Harris, 1 Strobhart, 162, and People v. Pease, 3 Johnson's Cases, 883.

^19  7 Porter, Alabama, 293.

^21  3 Cowen, 686.

^22  Article I, § 3.

^24  2 Alabama, 31.

^25  7 Howard's Mississippi, 127.

^26  22 New York, 67. See, also, Strother v. State, 1 Missouri, 554 or *772

^27  19 Howard, 9.

^29  Tapia, Febrero Novissimo, tomo 8, p. 56, § 14.

^30  R epertoire de Jurisprudence, Tit. 'Amnistie.'

^31  Tit. 'Amnistie.'

^32  De Villeneuve & Carrette, vol. 1825, 1827, part 1, p. 135.

^33  De Villeneuve & Carrette, 1840, part 2, p. 372, &c.

^34  Id. 1850, part 1, p. 672-3

^35  See it, supra, p. 336.

^36  4 Wheaton, 416.

^37  22 California, 225. The report, as here given, is extracted from a printed statement of Mr. Henderson's argument in Cummings v. Missouri.

^38  Vol. 5, p. 244.

^39  3 Dallas, 386.

^40  6 Cranch, 138.

^41  1 Kent's Commentaries, 409.

^42  1 Kent's Commentaries, 409.

^43  Constitution, Article ii § 3.

^44  3 Yeates, 429.

^45  1 Curtis, 311.

^46  Hansard's Pailiamentary Debates, First Series, folio 10, p. 966.

^47  19 Howard.

^48  Ex parte Heyfron, 7 Howard, Mississippi, 127; Fletcher v. Daingerfield, 20 California, 430.

^49  22 New York, 81.

^50  19 Howard, 9.

^51  Article II, § 2.

^52  4 Blackstone's Commentaries, 402; 6 Bacon's Abridgment, tit. Pardon; Hawkins, book 2, c. 37, §§ 34 and 54.


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