Ex parte Garland

Ex parte Garland

Argued December 15, 22, 1865
Reargued March 13–15, 1866
Decided January 14, 1867
Full case name Ex parte Garland

71 U.S. 333 (more)

Congress cannot punish a person for a crime for which the person has been pardoned.
Court membership
Case opinions
Majority Field, joined by Wayne, Nelson, Grier, Clifford
Dissent Miller, joined by Chase, Swayne, Davis

Ex parte Garland, 71 U.S. 333 (1866), was an important United States Supreme Court case involving the disbarment of former Confederate officials.


In January 1865 the Congress of the United States passed a law that effectively disbarred former members of the Confederate government by requiring a loyalty oath be recited by any Federal court officer affirming that the officer had never served in the Confederate government.

Augustus Hill Garland, an attorney and former Confederate Senator from Arkansas, subsequently received a pardon from President Andrew Johnson. Garland then came before the court and pleaded that the act of Congress was a bill of attainder and an ex post facto law which unfairly punished him for the crime for which he had been pardoned and was therefore unconstitutional.


In a 5-4 vote the Supreme Court ruled that the law was indeed a bill of attainder and an ex post facto law. The court ruled that Garland was beyond the reach of punishment of any kind due to his prior presidential pardon. The court also stated that counselors are officers of the court and not officers of the United States, and that their removal was an exercise of judicial power and not legislative power. The law was struck down, opening the way for former Confederate government officials to return to positions within the federal judiciary.

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