EX PARTE MCCARDLE
William McCardle was arrested by federal authorities in 1867 for writing and publishing a series of editorials in his Mississippi newspaper. The editorials were sharply critical of Reconstruction. McCardle sought a writ of habeas corpus on the ground that the Reconstruction Acts under which he was arrested were unconstitutional. McCardle appealed to the Supreme Court under an 1867 congressional statute that conferred jurisdiction on appeal to the High Court. After hearing arguments in the case, but prior to announcing a decision, the Congress withdrew its 1867 act conferring jurisdiction.
May the Congress withdraw jurisdiction from the High Court after that jurisdiction has been given?
Legal provision: Military Reconstruction Act
The Court, speaking through Chase, validated congressional withdrawal of the Court's jurisdiction. The basis for this repeal was the exceptions clause of Article III Section 2. But Chase pointedly reminded his readers that the 1868 statute repealing jurisdiction "does not affect the jurisdiction which was previously exercised."