circuit court by which a citizen is imprisoned are coram non judice and void, its judgment is final, and no relief can be had in the Supreme Court by writ of error or appeal or by habeas corpus.
To the same effect see Ex parte Watkins (3 Pet., 193). Curtis, justice, recites the act of August 29, 1842, which provides that in case of a subject of a foreign Government imprisoned for an act done under the authority of that Government, if a writ of habeas corpus be issued therein by a justice of the Supreme Court or by a district court, an appeal to the circuit court and from its order to the Supreme Court is expressly given, and says it is for Congress to determine whether this class of cases shall be so privileged. (14 Howard, 128, Kaine's case.) In the case of Pratt vs. Fitzhugh et al. (1 Black, S. C. R., p. 272), the defendants in error, on an execution issued out of the district court of the United States for the northern district of New York, had been arrested and imprisoned, the execution commanding the marshal, in default of goods, &c., to satisfy the claim, to arrest and keep the defendants until the same be paid. Upon habeas corpus from the circuit court of the United States the defendants were discharged from imprisonment. Upon this proceeding on habeas corpus, Pratt, the plaintiff below, sued out a writ of error from the Supreme Court, and on motion to dismiss the case for want of jurisdiction, the Supreme Court, per Nelson, justice, decided that the case is brought up under the twenty-second section of the judiciary act, which confines the writ of error to cases where the matter in dispute exceeds the sum or value of $2,000. "This," says the court, "has always been held to mean a property value, and without the fact of value being shown the court has no jurisdiction. " Case dismissed for want of jurisdiction. It is not clear, upon the foregoing cases, that the appellate power of the Supreme Court of the United States extends only to such cases as are within the general judiciary act and the special acts expressly giving appellate jurisdiction, and that said court has no appellate jurisdiction to revise the proceedings of tribunals acting under or by color of the authority of the United States, but which do not exercise any part of the judiciary power of the United States except when the same is expressly given by special act of Congress. (See act of August 29, 1842, above cited, also act of Thirty-seventh Congress, chapter 81, and of Thirty-sixth Congress, chapter 27, and act of 1861, chapter 61, p. 319.)
Courts-martial and military commissions act under or by color of the authority of the United States, but do they exercise any part of the judicial power of the United States? That is well settled by the Supreme Court in the case of Dynes vs. Hoover (20 Howard, p. 65), in which the court say, among the powers conferred by Congress by the eight section of the first article of the Constitution are the following: To provide and maintain a navy, to make rules for the government of the land and naval forces; and by the second section of the second article of the Constitution it is declared that the President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, &c. These provisions, say the court, show that Congress has the power to provide for the trial and punishment of military and naval offenses in the manner then and now practiced by civilized nations, and that the power to die this is given without any connection between it and the third article of the Constitution defining the judicial power of the United States; indeed, that the two powers are entirely independent of the each other. This opinion of the court clearly declares and settles the point that the trial and punishment of military offenses is a power under the Constitution which has no connection with the judicial power