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Ex parte Milligan, 71 US 2 (1866)

"Military commissions organized during the late civil war, in a State not invaded and not engaged in rebellion, in which the Federal courts were open, and in the proper and unobstructed exercise of their judicial functions, had no jurisdiction to try, convict, or sentence for any criminal offense, a citizen who was neither a resident of a rebellious State nor a prisoner of war, nor a person in the military or naval service. And Congress could not invest them with any such power."
Ex Parte Milligan case of 1866

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Q: What US Supreme Court ruling held military tribunals could not try civilians when civilian courts were open?
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Which is supreme between civilian authority and military authority during times of martial law?

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Why is it civilian authority supreme over military?

In our system of checks and balances we keep control over the military by having civilians overseeing the military to keep them from being too powerful and overthrowing the government, civilians approve the budget for each service and a civilian is the head of each branch of the service.

Civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military?

Yes. The commander in chief of the US military is a civilian, and will always be in ultimate control of the military. This is one of the major tenants of the construct the founders put in place to guard against the military seizing power.

The powers of Congress include the right to constitute tribunals?

supreme court.

The powers of Congress include the right to constitute tribunals what to the what?

inferior to the supreme Court

Is the US Constitution fully applicable in a military base as a US territory?

Yes. The U.S. Constitution applies as the supreme law in ANY place that the U.S. has jurisdiction, regardless of whether military or civilian law applies. Now, the exact details of how the Constitution applies in specific cases can vary, depending on the situation. In addition, military law applies over civilian law when on a U.S. military base, rather than a U.S. territory (where only civilian law applies).

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Who is supereme commander of navy forces?

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When does civilian law supersede military law?

Civilian law is typically always in place. Military law is only invoked in extreme emergencies. However, military personnel are always subject to military law. The Adjutant General will negotiate with the civilian authorities if there is any situation where it is not definite as to which takes precedence. Actually, in the United States, no military person (or, for that matter, anyone other than the Judical Branch) can arbitrarily decide to enforce military law in a place where it is not currently in place. Not even the President can decide to apply military law in a place where civil law is currently in force (indeed, this is one of the major contentious issues around the classification of terrorists as "enemy combatants", and the legality of this move is still being subject to litigation). The misnowmer "martial law" does not actually apply Military Law, but rather enforce a certain subsection of civilian law. For instance, let's say that there is major rioting in a city, and the National Guard is called in to restore order, and "martial law" is declared by the city's major (or perhaps, the state governor). Members of the National Guard are subject to Military law, and any infractions they commit will naturally be covered by military trial. HOWEVER, should a National Guardsman capture a looter (or other criminal), they are then prosecuted under CIVILIAN LAW, even though "martial law" was declared. Martial law in this case is a specific subsection of civilian law, which criminalizes certain activities which are normally permissible under ordinary civilian law. Back to the original question: as Congress is the creator of both military and civilian law, it can decide whether civilian or military law applies in a situation where the military normally has first jurisdiction. There are a myriad number of places this can occur, so naming them all is not possible. In addition, the Constitution is still the highest law of the land, and is supreme over both military and civilian law. Do note that many crimes are not covered by military law, but only civilian law, so it is entirely possible for a person normally subject to military jurisdiction to be prosecuted by civilian authorities without military acquiecence. For example, Insider Trading is a civilian crime, with no military equivalent, so it would be entirely possible to charge a military serviceperson on a military base with this civilian crime.

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