|Reid v. Covert
(No. 701, October Term, 1955)
Judgment below in No. 701, October Term, 1955, affirmed. 137 F.Supp. 806, reversed and remanded.
[ Black ]
[ Frankfurter ]
[ Harlan ]
[ Clark ]
Reid v. Covert
MR. JUSTICE FRANKFURTER, concurring in the result.
These cases involve the constitutional power of Congress to provide for trial of civilian dependents accompanying members of the armed forces abroad by court-martial in capital cases. The normal method of trial of federal offenses under the Constitution is in a civilian tribunal. Trial of offenses by way of court-martial, with all the characteristics of its procedure so different from the forms and safeguards of procedure in the conventional courts, is an exercise of exceptional jurisdiction, arising from the power granted to Congress in Art. I, § 8, cl. 14, of the Constitution of the United States "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation [p42] of the land and naval Forces." Dynes v. Hoover, 20 How. 65; see Toth v. Quarles, 350 U.S. 11; Winthrop, Military Law and Precedents (2d ed. 1896), 52. Article 2(11) of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 64 Stat. 107, 109, 50 U.S.C. § 552(11), and its predecessors were passed as an exercise of that power, and the agreements with England and Japan recognized that the jurisdiction to be exercised under those agreements was based on the relation of the persons involved to the military forces. See the agreement with Great Britain, 57 Stat. 1193, E.A.S. No. 355, and the United States of America (Visiting Forces) Act, 1942, 5 & 6 Geo. VI, c. 31, and the 1952 Administrative Agreement with Japan, 3 U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements 3341, T.I.A.S. 2492.
Trial by court-martial is constitutionally permissible only for persons who can, on a fair appraisal, be regarded as falling within the authority given to Congress under Article I to regulate the "land and naval Forces," and who therefore are not protected by specific provisions of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. It is, of course, true that, at least regarding the right to a grand jury indictment, the Fifth Amendment is not unmindful of the demands of military discipline. [n1] Within the scope of appropriate construction, the phrase "except in cases arising in the land and naval Forces" has been assumed also to modify the guaranties of speedy and public trial [p43] by jury. And so the problem before us is not to be answered by recourse to the literal words of this exception. The cases cannot be decided simply by saying that, since these women were not in uniform, they were not "in the land and naval Forces." The Court's function in constitutional adjudications is not exhausted by a literal reading of words. It may be tiresome, but it is nonetheless vital, to keep our judicial minds fixed on the injunction that "it is a constitution we are expounding." M'Culloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 407. Although Winthrop, in his treatise, states that the Constitution "clearly distinguishes the military from the civil class as separate communities," and
recognizes no third class which is part civil and part military -- military for a particular purpose or in a particular situation, and civil for all other purposes and in all other situations . . . ,
Winthrop, Military Law and Precedents (2d ed. 1896), 145, this Court, applying appropriate methods of constitutional interpretation, has long held, and in a variety of situations, that, in the exercise of a power specifically granted to it, Congress may sweep in what may be necessary to make effective the explicitly worded power. See Jacob Ruppert v. Caffey, 251 U.S. 264, especially 289 et seq.; Purity Extract Co. v. Lynch, 226 U.S. 192, 201; Railroad Commission v. Chicago, Burlington & Quincy R. Co., 257 U.S. 563, 588. This is the significance of the Necessary and Proper Clause, which is not to be considered so much a separate clause in Art. I, § 8, as an integral part of each of the preceding 17 clauses. Only thus may be avoided a strangling literalness in construing a document that is not an enumeration of static rules but the living framework of government designed for an undefined future. M'Culloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316; Hurtado v. California, 110 U.S. 516, 530-531.
Everything that may be deemed, as the exercise of an allowable judgment by Congress, to fall fairly within the [p44] conception conveyed by the power given to Congress "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" is constitutionally within that legislative grant, and not subject to revision by the independent judgment of the Court. To be sure, every event or transaction that bears some relation to "the land and naval Forces" does not ipso facto come within the tolerant conception of that legislative grant. The issue in these cases involves regard for considerations not dissimilar to those involved in a determination under the Due Process Clause. Obviously, the practical situations before us bear some relation to the military. Yet the question for this Court is not merely whether the relation of these women to the "land and naval Forces" is sufficiently close to preclude the necessity of finding that Congress has been arbitrary in its selection of a particular method of trial. For, although we must look to Art. I, § 8, cl. 14, as the immediate justifying power, it is not the only clause of the Constitution to be taken into account. The Constitution is an organic scheme of government to be dealt with as an entirety. A particular provision cannot be dissevered from the rest of the Constitution. Our conclusion in these cases therefore must take due account of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. We must weigh all the factors involved in these cases in order to decide whether these women dependents are so closely related to what Congress may allowably deem essential for the effective "Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" that they may be subjected to court-martial jurisdiction in these capital cases, when the consequence is loss of the protections afforded by Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
We are not concerned here even with the possibility of some alternative non-military type of trial that does [p45] not contain all the safeguards of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. We must judge only what has been enacted and what is at issue. It is the power actually asserted by Congress under Art. I, § 8, cl. 14, that must now be adjudged in the light of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. In making this adjudication, I must emphasize that it is only the trial of civilian dependents in a capital case in time of peace that is in question. The Court has not before it, and therefore I need not intimate any opinion on, situations involving civilians, in the sense of persons not having a military status, other than dependents. Nor do we have before us a case involving a non-capital crime. This narrow delineation of the issue is merely to respect the important restrictions binding on the Court when passing on the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.
In the exercise of that jurisdiction, it is bound by two rules, to which it has rigidly adhered, one, never to anticipate a question of constitutional law in advance of the necessity of deciding it; the other never to formulate a rule of constitutional law broader than is required by the precise facts to which it is to be applied. These rules are safe guides to sound judgment. It is the dictate of wisdom to follow them closely and carefully.
Steamship Co. v. Emigration Commissioners, 113 U.S. 33, 39.
We are also not concerned here with the substantive aspects of the grant of power to Congress to "make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces." What conduct should be punished and what constitutes a capital case are matters for congressional discretion, always subject, of course, to any specific restrictions of the Constitution. These cases involve the validity of procedural conditions for determining the commission of a crime, in fact, punishable by death. The taking of life is irrevocable. It is in capital cases especially [p46] that the balance of conflicting interests must be weighted most heavily in favor of the procedural safeguards of the Bill of Rights. Thus, in Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 71, the fact "above all that they stood in deadly peril of their lives" led the Court to conclude that the defendants had been denied due process by the failure to allow them reasonable time to seek counsel and the failure to appoint counsel. I repeat. I do not mean to imply that the considerations that are controlling in capital cases involving civilian dependents are constitutionally irrelevant in capital cases involving civilians other than dependents or in non-capital cases involving dependents or other civilians. I do say that we are dealing here only with capital cases and civilian dependents.
The Government asserts that civilian dependents are an integral part of our armed forces overseas, and that there is substantial military necessity for subjecting them to court-martial jurisdiction. The Government points out that civilian dependents go military community, enjoy the privileges of military facilities, and that their conduct inevitably tends to influence military discipline.
The prosecution by court-martial for capital crimes committed by civilian dependents of members of the armed forces abroad is hardly to be deemed, under modern conditions, obviously appropriate to the effective exercise of the power to "make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" when it is a question of deciding what power is granted under Article I, and therefore what restriction is made on Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments. I do not think that the proximity, physical and social, of these women to the "land and naval Forces" is, with due regard to all that has been put before us, so clearly demanded by the effective "Government and Regulation" [p47] of those forces as reasonably to demonstrate a justification for court-martial jurisdiction over capital offenses.
The Government speaks of the "great potential impact on military discipline" of these accompanying civilian dependents. This cannot be denied, nor should its implications be minimized. But the notion that discipline over military personnel is to be furthered by subjecting their civilian dependents to the threat of capital punishment imposed by court-martial is too hostile to the reasons that underlie the procedural safeguards of the Bill of Rights for those safeguards to be displaced. It is true that military discipline might be affected seriously if civilian dependents could commit murders and other capital crimes with impunity. No one, however, challenges the availability to Congress of a power to provide for trial and punishment of these dependents for such crimes. [n2] The method of trial alone is in issue. The Government suggests that, if trial in an Article III court subject to the restrictions of the Fifth and Sixth Amendments is the only alternative, such a trial could not be held abroad practicably, and it would often be equally impracticable to transport all the witnesses back to the United States for trial. But, although there is no need to pass on that issue in this case, trial in the United States is obviously not the only practical alternative, and other alternatives may raise different constitutional questions. The Government's own figures for the Army show that the total number of civilians (all civilians "serving with, employed by, or accompanying the armed forces" overseas and not merely civilian dependents) for whom general courts-martial for alleged [p48] murder were deemed advisable [n3] was only 13 in the 7 fiscal years 1950-1956. It is impossible to ascertain from the figures supplied to us exactly how many persons were tried for other capital offenses, but the figures indicate that there could not have been many. There is nothing to indicate that the figures for the other services are more substantial. It thus appears to be a manageable problem within the procedural restrictions found necessary by this opinion.
A further argument is made that a decision adverse to the Government would mean that only a foreign trial could be had. Even assuming that the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, 4 U.S. Treaties and Other International Agreements 1792, T.I.A.S. 2846, covering countries where a large part of our armed forces are stationed, gives jurisdiction to the United States only through its military authorities, this Court cannot speculate that any given nation would be unwilling to grant or continue such extraterritorial jurisdiction over civilian dependents in capital cases if they were to be tried by some other manner than court-martial. And even if such were the case, these civilian dependents would then [p49] merely be in the same position as are so many federal employees and their dependents and other United States citizens who are subject to the laws of foreign nations when residing there. [n4] See also the NATO Status of Forces Agreement, supra, Art. VII, §§ 2, 3.
The Government makes the final argument that these civilian dependents are part of he United States military contingent abroad in the eyes of the foreign nations concerned, and that their conduct may have a profound effect on our relations with these countries, with a consequent effect on the military establishment there. But the argument that military court-martials in capital cases are necessitated by this factor assumes either that a military court-martial constitutes a stronger deterrent to this sort of conduct or that, in the absence of such a trial, no punishment would be meted out, and our foreign policy thereby injured. The reasons why these considerations carry no conviction have already been indicated.
I therefore conclude that, in capital cases, the exercise of court-martial jurisdiction over civilian dependents in time of peace cannot be justified by Article I, considered in connection with the specific protections of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
Since the conclusion thus reached differs from what the Court decided last Term, a decent respect for the judicial process calls for reexamination of the two grounds that then prevailed. The Court sustained its action on the [p50] authority of the cases dealing with the power of Congress to "make all needful Rules and Regulations" for the Territories, reinforced by In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453, in which this Court, in 1891, sustained the criminal jurisdiction of a consular court in Japan. [n5] These authorities grew out of, and related to, specific situations very different from those now here. They do not control or even embarrass the problem before us.
Legal doctrines are not self-generated abstract categories. They do not fall from the sky; nor are they pulled out of it. They have a specific juridical origin and etiology. They derive meaning and content from the circumstances that gave rise to them, and from the purposes they were designed to serve. To these they are bound as is a live tree to its roots. Doctrines like those expressed by the Ross case and the series of cases beginning with American Insurance Co. v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511, must be placed in their historical setting. They cannot be wrenched from it and mechanically transplanted into an alien, unrelated context without suffering mutilation or distortion.
If a precedent involving a black horse is applied to a case involving a white horse, we are not excited. If it were an elephant or an animal ferae naturae or a chose in action, then we would venture into thought. The difference might make a difference. We really are concerned about precedents chiefly when their facts differ somewhat from the facts in the case at bar. Then there is a gulf or hiatus that has to be bridged by a concern for principle and a concern for practical results and practical wisdom.
Thomas Reed Powell, Vagaries and Varieties in Constitutional Interpretation, [p51] 36. This attitude toward precedent underlies the whole system of our case law. It was thus summarized by Mr. Justice Brandeis:
It is a peculiar virtue of our system of law that the process of inclusion and exclusion, so often employed in developing a rule, is not allowed to end with its enunciation, and that an expression in an opinion yields later to the impact of facts unforeseen.
Jaybird Mining Co. v. Weir, 271 U.S. 609, 619 (dissenting). Especially is this attitude to be observed in constitutional controversies.
The territorial cases relied on by the Court last Term held that certain specific constitutional restrictions on the Government did not automatically apply in the acquired territories of Florida, Hawaii, the Philippines, or Puerto Rico. In these cases, the Court drew its decisions from the power of Congress to "make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory . . . belonging to the United States," for which provision is made in Art. IV, § 3. The United States from time to time acquired lands in which many of our laws and customs found an uncongenial soil because they ill accorded with the history and habits of their people. Mindful of all relevant provisions of the Constitution and not allowing one to frustrate another -- which is the guiding thought of this opinion -- the Court found it necessary to read Art. IV, § 3, together with the Fifth and Sixth Amendments and Article III in the light of those circumstances. The question arose most frequently with respect to the establishment of trial by jury in possessions in which such a system was wholly without antecedents. The Court consistently held with respect to such "Territory" that congressional power under Art. IV, § 3, was not restricted by the requirement of Art. III, § 2, cl. 3, and the Sixth Amendment of providing trial by jury.
If the right to trial by jury were a fundamental right which goes wherever the jurisdiction of the [p52] United States extends, or if Congress, in framing laws for outlying territory belonging to the United States, was obliged to establish that system by affirmative legislation, it would follow that, no matter what the needs or capacities of the people, trial by jury, and in no other way, must be forthwith established, although the result may be to work injustice and provoke disturbance, rather than to aid the orderly administration of justice. If the United States, impelled by its duty or advantage, shall acquire territory peopled by savages, and of which it may dispose or not hold for ultimate admission to Statehood, if this doctrine is sound, it must establish there the trial by jury. To state such a proposition demonstrates the impossibility of carrying it into practice. Again, if the United States shall acquire by treaty the cession of territory having an established system of jurisprudence, where jury trials are unknown, but a method of fair and orderly trial prevails under an acceptable and long-established code, the preference of the people must be disregarded, their established customs ignored and they themselves coerced to accept, in advance of incorporation into the United States, a system of trial unknown to them and unsuited to their needs. We do not think it was intended, in giving power to Congress to make regulations for the territories, to hamper its exercise with this condition.
Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138, 148. [n6] [p53] The "fundamental right" test is the one which the Court has consistently enunciated in the long series of cases -- e.g., American Ins. Co. v. Canter, 1 Pet. 511; De Lima v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. l; Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244; Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138; Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298 -- dealing with claims of constitutional restrictions on the power of Congress to "make all needful Rules and Regulations" for governing the unincorporated territories. The process of decision appropriate to the problem led to a detailed examination of the relation of the specific "Territory" to the United States. This examination, in its similarity to analysis in terms of "due process," is essentially the same as that to be made in the present cases in weighing congressional power to make "Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" against the safeguards of Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments.
The results in the cases that arose by reason of the acquisition of exotic "Territory" do not control the present cases, for the territorial cases rest specifically on Art. IV, § 3, which is a grant of power to Congress to deal with "Territory" and other Government property. Of course, the power sought to be exercised in Great Britain and Japan does not relate to "Territory." [n7] The Court's [p54] opinions in the territorial cases did not lay down a broad principle that the protective provisions of the Constitution do not apply outside the continental limits of the United States. This Court considered the particular situation in each newly acquired territory to determine whether the grant to Congress of power to govern "Territory" was restricted by a specific provision of the Constitution. The territorial cases, in the emphasis put by them on the necessity for considering the specific circumstances of each particular case, are thus relevant in that they provide an illustrative method for harmonizing constitutional provisions which appear, separately considered, to be conflicting.
The Court last Term relied on a second source of authority, the consular court case, In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453. Pursuant to a treaty with Japan, Ross, a British subject but a member of the crew of a United States ship, was tried and convicted in a consular court in Yokohama for murder of a fellow seaman while the ship was in Yokohama harbor. His application for a writ of habeas corpus to a United States Circuit Court was denied, 44 F. 185, and, on appeal here, the judgment was affirmed. This Court set forth the ground of the Circuit Court,
the long and uniform acquiescence by the executive, administrative and legislative departments of the government in the validity of the legislation,
140 U.S. at 461, and then stated:
The Circuit Court might have found an additional ground for not calling in question the legislation of Congress in the uniform practice of civilized governments for centuries to provide consular tribunals in other than Christian countries . . . for the [p55] trial of their own subjects or citizens for offences committed in those countries, as well as for the settlement of civil disputes between them, and in the uniform recognition, down to the time of the formation of our government, of the fact that the establishment of such tribunals was among the most important subjects for treaty stipulations. . . .
* * * *
The treaty-making power vested in our government extends to all proper subjects of negotiation with foreign governments. It can, equally with any of the former or present governments of Europe, make treaties providing for the exercise of judicial authority in other countries by its officers appointed to reside therein.
We do not understand that any question is made by counsel as to its power in this respect. His objection is to the legislation by which such treaties are carried out. . . .
. . . By the Constitution, a government is ordained and established "for the United States of America," and not for countries outside of their limits. The guarantees it affords against accusation of capital or infamous crimes, except by indictment or presentment by a grand jury, and for an impartial trial by a jury when thus accused, apply only to citizens and others within the United States, or who are brought there for trial for alleged offences committed elsewhere, and not to residents or temporary sojourners abroad. . . . The Constitution can have no operation in another country. When, therefore, the representatives or officers of our government are permitted to exercise authority of any kind in another country, it must be on such conditions as the two countries may agree, the laws of neither one being obligatory upon the other. The deck of a private [p56] American vessel, it is true, is considered for many purposes constructively as territory of the United States, yet persons on board of such vessels, whether officers, sailors, or passengers, cannot invoke the protection of the provisions referred to until brought within the actual territorial boundaries of the United States. . . .
140 U.S. at 462-464.
One observation should be made at the outset about the grounds for decision in Ross. Insofar as the opinion expressed a view that the Constitution is not operative outside the United States -- and apparently Mr. Justice Field meant by "United States" all lands over which the United States flag flew, see John W. Burgess, How May the United States Govern Its Extra-Continental Territory?, 14 Pol.Sci.Q. 1 (1899) -- it expressed a notion that has long since evaporated. Governmental action abroad is performed under both the authority and the restrictions of the Constitution -- for example, proceedings before American military tribunals, whether in Great Britain or in the United States, are subject to the applicable restrictions of the Constitution. See opinions in Burns v. Wilson, 346 U.S. 137.
The significance of the Ross case and its relevance to the present cases cannot be assessed unless due regard is accorded the historical context in which that case was decided. Ross is not rooted in any abstract principle or comprehensive theory touching constitutional power or its restrictions. It was decided with reference to a very particular, practical problem with a long history. To be mindful of this does not attribute to Mr. Justice Field's opinion some unavowed historical assumption. On behalf of the whole Court, he spelled out the considerations that controlled it:
The practice of European governments to send officers to reside in foreign countries, authorized to [p57] exercise a limited jurisdiction over vessels and seamen of their country, to watch the interests of their countrymen, and to assist in adjusting their disputes and protecting their commerce, goes back to a very early period, even preceding what are termed the Middle Ages. . . . In other than Christian countries, they were, by treaty stipulations, usually clothed with authority to hear complaints against their countrymen and to sit in judgment upon them when charged with public offences. After the rise of Islamism and the spread of its followers over eastern Asia and other countries bordering on the Mediterranean, the exercise of this judicial authority became a matter of great concern. The intense hostility of the people of Moslem faith to all other sects, and particularly to Christians, affected all their intercourse and all proceedings had in their tribunals. Even the rules of evidence adopted by them placed those of different faith on unequal grounds in any controversy with them. For this cause, and by reason of the barbarous and cruel punishments inflicted in those countries and the frequent use of torture to enforce confession from parties accused, it was a matter of deep interest to Christian governments to withdraw the trial of their subjects, when charged with the commission of a public offence, from the arbitrary and despotic action of the local officials. Treaties conferring such jurisdiction upon these consuls were essential to the peaceful residence of Christians within those countries and the successful prosecution of commerce with their people.
140 U.S. at 462-463.
It is true that the occasion for consular tribunals in Japan may hereafter be less than at present, as every year that country progresses in civilization and in the assimilation of its system of judicial procedure [p58] to that of Christian countries, as well as in the improvement of its penal statutes; but the system of consular tribunals . . . is of the highest importance, and their establishment in other than Christian countries, where our people may desire to go in pursuit of commerce, will often be essential for the protection of their persons and property.
Id. at 480. [n8]
It is important to have a lively sense of this background before attempting to draw on the Ross case. Historians have traced grants of extraterritorial rights as far back as the permission given by Egypt in the 12th or 13th century B.C. to the merchants of Tyre to establish factories on the Nile and to live under their own law and practice their own religion. Numerous other instances of persons living under their own law in foreign lands existed in the later pre-Christian era and during the Roman Empire and the so-called Dark and Middle Ages -- Greeks in [p59] Egypt, all sorts of foreigners in Rome, inhabitants of Christian cities and states in the Byzantine Empire, the Latin kingdoms of the Levant, and other Christian cities and states, Mohammedans in the Byzantine Empire and China, and many others lived in foreign lands under their own law. While the origins of this extraterritorial jurisdiction may have differed in each country, the notion that law was for the benefit of the citizens of a country and its advantages not for foreigners appears to have been.an important factor. Thus, there existed a long-established custom of extraterritorial jurisdiction at the beginning of the 15th century when the complete conquest of the Byzantine Empire by the Turks and the establishment of the Ottoman Empire substantially altered political relations between Christian Europe and the Near East. But commercial relations continued, and in 1535, Francis I of France negotiated a treaty with Suleiman I of Turkey that provided for numerous extraterritorial rights, including criminal and civil jurisdiction over all disputes among French subjects. 1 Ernest Charriere, Negociations de la France dans le Levant 283. Other nations, and eventually the United States in 1830, 8 Stat. 408, later negotiated similar treaties with the Turks. (For a more complete history of the development of extraterritorial rights and consular jurisdiction, see 1 Calvo, Le Droit International Theorique et Pratique (5th ed., Rousseau, 1896), 2-18, 2 id. 9-12; Hinckley, American Consular Jurisdiction in the Orient, 1-9; 1 Miltitz, Manuel des Consuls passim; Ravndal, The Origin of the Capitulations and of the Consular Institution, S.Doc. No. 34, 67th Cong., 1st Sess. 5-45, 56-96; Shih Shun Liu, Extraterritoriality, 23-66, 118 Studies in History, Economics and Public Law, Columbia University (1925); Twiss, The Law of Nations (Rev. ed. 1884), 443-457.) [p60]
The emergence of the nation state in Europe and the growth of the doctrine of absolute territorial sovereignty changed the nature of extraterritorial rights. No longer were strangers to be denied the advantages of local law. Indeed, territorial sovereignty meant the exercise of sovereignty over all residents within the borders of the state, and the system of extraterritorial consular jurisdiction tended to die out among Christian nations in the 18th and 19th centuries. But a new justification was found for the continuation of that jurisdiction in those countries whose systems of justice were considered inferior, and it was this strong feeling with respect to Moslem and Far Eastern countries that was reflected, as we have seen, in the Ross opinion.
Until 1842, China had asserted control over all foreigners within its territory, Shih Shun Liu, op. cit. supra, 76-89, but, as a result of the Opium War, Great Britain negotiated a treaty with China whereby she obtained consular offices in five open ports and was granted extraterritorial rights over her citizens. On July 3, 1844, Caleb Cushing negotiated a similar treaty on behalf of the United States. 8 Stat. 592. In a letter to Secretary of State Calhoun, he explained:
I entered China with the formed general conviction that the United States ought not to concede to any foreign state, under any circumstances, jurisdiction over the life and liberty of a citizen of the United States unless that foreign state be of our own family of nations -- in a word, a Christian state.
Quoted in 7 Op.Atty.Gen. 495, 496-497. Later treaties continued the extraterritorial rights of the United States, and the Treaty of 1903 contained the following article demonstrating the purpose of those rights:
The Government of China having expressed a strong desire to reform its judicial system and to bring it into accord with that of Western nations, the [p61] United States agrees to give every assistance to such reform, and will also be prepared to relinquish extraterritorial rights when satisfied that the state of the Chinese laws, the arrangements for their administration, and other considerations warrant it in doing so.
33 Stat. 2208, 2215.
The first treaty with Japan was negotiated by Commodore Perry in 1854. 11 Stat. 597. It opened two ports, but did not provide for any exercise of judicial powers by United States officials. Under the Treaty of 1857, 11 Stat. 723, such power was given, and later treaties, which opened up further Japanese cities for trade and residence by United States citizens, retained these rights. The treaty of 1894, effective on July 17, 1899, however, ended these extraterritorial rights, and Japan, even though a "non-Christian" nation, came to occupy the same status as Christian nations. 29 Stat. 848. The exercise of criminal jurisdiction by consuls over United States citizens was also provided for, at one time or another, in treaties with Borneo, 10 Stat. 909, 910; Siam, 11 Stat. 683, 684; Madagascar, 15 Stat. 491, 492; Samoan Islands, 20 Stat. 704; Korea, 23 Stat. 720, 721; Tonga Islands, 25 Stat. 1440, 1442, and, by virtue of most favored nation clauses, in treaties with Tripoli, 8 Stat. 154; Persia, 11 Stat. 709; the Congo, 27 Stat. 926, and Ethiopia, 33 Stat. 2254. The exercise of criminal jurisdiction was also provided for in a treaty with Morocco, 8 Stat. 100, by virtue of a most favored nation clause and by virtue of a clause granting jurisdiction if "any . . . citizens of the United States . . . shall have any disputes with each other." The word "disputes" has been interpreted by the International Court of Justice to comprehend criminal as well as civil disputes. France v. United States, I.C.J. Reports 1952, pp.176, 188-189. The treaties with Algiers, 8 Stat. 133, 224, 244; Tunis, 8 Stat. [p62] 157, and Muscat, 8 Stat. 458, contained similar "disputes" clauses. [n9]
The judicial power exercised by consuls was defined by statute, and was sweeping:
Jurisdiction in both criminal and civil matters shall, in all cases, be exercised and enforced in conformity with the laws of the United States, which are hereby, so far as is necessary to execute such treaties, respectively, and so far as they are suitable to carry the same into effect, extended over all citizens of the United States in those countries, and over all others to the extent that the terms of the treaties, respectively, justify or require. But in all cases where such laws are not adapted to the object, or are deficient in the provisions necessary to furnish suitable remedies, the common law and the law of equity and admiralty shall be extended in like manner over such citizens and others in those countries, and if neither the common law, nor the law of equity or admiralty, nor the statutes of the United States, furnish appropriate and sufficient remedies, the ministers in those countries, respectively, shall, by decrees and regulations which shall have the force of law, supply such defects and deficiencies.
Rev.Stat. § 4086. The consuls, then, exercised not only executive and judicial power, but legislative power as well.
The number of people subject to the jurisdiction of these courts during their most active periods appears to [p63] have been fairly small. In the Chronicle & Directory for China, Japan, & the Philippines, for the year 1870, there is a listing of the total number of foreign, not just United States, residents in these three places. The list is 81 pages long, with a total of some 4,500 persons. (Pp. 54-134.) This same publication gives the following information about Japan:
The number of foreigners settled in Japan is as yet very small. At the end of the year 1862, the foreign community at Kanagawa, the principal of the three ports of Japan open to aliens, consisted of . . . thirty-eight Americans . . . , and in the latter part of 1864, the permanent foreign residents at Kanagawa had increased to 300, not counting soldiers, of which number . . . about 80 [were] Americans. . . . At Nagasaki, the second port of Japan thrown open to foreign trade by the government, the number of alien settlers was as follows on the 1st of January, 1866: -- . . . American citizens 32. . . . A third port opened to European and American traders, that of Hakodadi, in the north of Japan, was deserted, after a lengthened trial, by nearly all the foreign merchants settled there. . . .
(Appendix, p. 353.) The Statesman's Yearbook of 1890 shows: China at the end of 1888: 1,020 Americans (p. 411); Japan in 1887: 711 Americans (p. 709); Morocco, 1889 estimate: "The number of Christians is very small, not exceeding 1,500." (P. 739.) The Statesman's Yearbook of 1901 shows: China at the end of 1899: 2,335 Americans (p. 484); Japan, December 31, 1898, just before the termination of our extraterritorial rights: 1,165 Americans (p. 809); Morocco: "The number of Christians does not exceed 6,000; the Christian population of Tangier alone probably amounts to 5,000." (P. 851.) These figures, of course, do not include those civilians temporarily in the country coming within consular jurisdiction. [p64]
The consular court jurisdiction, then, was exercised in countries whose legal systems at the time were considered so inferior that justice could not be obtained in them by our citizens. The existence of these courts was based on long-established custom, and they were justified as the best possible means for securing justice for the few Americans present in those countries. The Ross case, therefore, arose out of, and rests on, very special, confined circumstances, and cannot be applied automatically to the present situation, involving hundreds of thousands of American citizens in countries with civilized systems of justice. If Congress had established consular courts or some other non-military procedure for trial that did not contain all the protections afforded by Article III and the Fifth and Sixth Amendments for the trial of civilian dependents of military personnel abroad, we would be forced to a detailed analysis of the situation of the civilian dependent population abroad in deciding whether the Ross case should be extended to cover such a case. It is not necessary to do this in the present cases in view of our decision that the form of trial here provided cannot constitutionally be justified.
The Government, apparently recognizing the constitutional basis for the decision in Ross, has, on rehearing, sought to show that civilians in general and civilian dependents in particular have been subject to military order and discipline ever since the colonial period. The materials it has submitted seem too episodic, too meager, to form a solid basis in history, preceding and contemporaneous with the framing of the Constitution, for constitutional adjudication. What has been urged on us falls far too short of proving a well established practice -- to be deemed to be infused into the Constitution -- of court-martial jurisdiction, certainly not in capital cases, over such civilians in time of peace. [p65]
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 in cases arising in the land or naval forces. . . .
Article 2 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice provides:
The following persons are subject to this code: . . . (11) Subject to the provisions of any treaty or agreement to which the United States is or may be a party or to any accepted rule of international law, all persons serving with, employed by, or accompanying the armed forces without the continental limits of the United States. . . .
2. Article III, § 2, cl. 3, provides that
The Trial of all Crimes . . . when not committed within any State . . . shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.
Since 1790, 1 Stat. 113-114, Congress has provided for such trial in the district where the offender is found (apprehended) or first brought. See 18 U.S.C. § 3238.
3. Under Article 19 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 64 Stat. 114, 50 U.S.C. § 579 a special court-martial may impose any punishment not forbidden by the Code
except death, dishonorable discharge, dismissal, confinement in excess of six months, hard labor without confinement in excess of three months, forfeiture of pay exceeding two-thirds pay per month, or forfeiture of pay for a period exceeding six months.
Under Art. 20, 64 Stat. 114, 50 U.S.C. § 580 a summary court-martial may impose any punishment not forbidden by the Code
except death, dismissal, dishonorable or bad conduct discharge, confinement in excess of one month, hard labor without confinement in excess of forty-five days, restriction to certain specified limits in excess of two months, or forfeiture of pay in excess of two-thirds of one month's pay.
In order to impose a punishment in excess of these limits, a general court-martial must be convened under Art. 18, 64 Stat. 114, 50 U.S.C. § 578.
4. A Report of the Joint Committee on Reduction of Nonessential Federal Expenditures on Federal Personnel and Pay indicates that the executive agencies of the Federal Government, excluding the Department of Defense, alone employed 51,027 persons outside the continental United States in February, 1957, excluding employees of the Panama Canal. S.Com.Print No. 157, 85th Cong., 1st Sess. Although these figures include "some foreign nationals," they nevertheless indicate a substantial number of United States citizens subject to foreign law. See 103 Cong.Rec. 5313-5316.
5. Having based the constitutionality of Article 2(11) on these grounds, the Court concluded,
we have no need to examine the power of Congress "To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces" under Article I of the Constitution.
351 U.S. 470, 476.
6. In Hawaii v. Mankichi, 190 U.S. 197, the Court rested its decision on an interpretation of the joint resolution of Congress annexing the Hawaiian Islands. The Court held that the act of annexation did not, of its own force, require indictment by grand jury and a trial by a Sixth Amendment jury. Implicit in this holding was the assumption that such indictment and trial were not constitutionally required in Hawaii. This assumption was based on a recognition that the act should not be construed as
imposing upon the islands every provision of a Constitution, which must have been unfamiliar to a large number of their inhabitants, and for which no previous preparation had been made. . . .
Id. at 215-216.
7. For a statement of the applicable law before the question arose with respect to lands outside the continental limits of the United States, see Thompson v. Utah, 170 U.S. 343, 347:
It is equally beyond question that the provisions of the National Constitution relating to trials by jury for crimes and to criminal prosecutions apply to the Territories of the United States.
But see Mormon Church v. United States, 136 U.S. 1, 44:
Doubtless Congress, in legislating for the Territories, would be subject to those fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights which are formulated in the Constitution and its amendments; but these limitations would exist rather by inference and the general spirit of the Constitution from which Congress derives all its powers than by any express and direct application of its provisions.
8. This feeling about the "non-Christian" nations of the world was widely shared. In his "Jubilee of the Constitution," delivered on the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington, John Quincy Adams said:
The Declaration of Independence recognised the European law of nations, as practised among Christian nations, to be that by which they considered themselves bound, and of which they claimed the rights. This system is founded upon the principle that the state of nature between men and between nations is a state of peace. But there was a Mahometan law of nations which considered the state of nature as a state of war -- an Asiatic law of nations which excluded all foreigners from admission within the territories of the state. . . . With all these different communities, the relations of the United States were, from the time when they had become an independent nation, variously modified according to the operation of those various laws. It was the purpose of the Constitution of the United States to establish justice over them all.
Adams, Jubilee of the Constitution, 73. See also the views of Secretary of State Hamilton Fish quoted in 351 U.S. at 484-485.
9. On August 1, 1956, the President approved Public Law 856, 84th Cong., 2d Sess., providing for the relinquishment by the President, at such time as he deemed appropriate, of the consular jurisdiction of the United States in Morocco, the only foreign country where United States consuls continued to exercise such jurisdiction. 70 Stat. 773. The jurisdiction was relinquished on October 6, 1956. N.Y. Times, Oct. 8, 1956, p. 1, col. 6.