Since 9/11, the detention of suspected terrorists has been necessary to reduce the terrorist threat and guarantee the opportunity for interrogation. Detainees were often held without being charged of crimes, many were not informed why they were being held, and many did not have access to an attorney. Detainees challenged the U.S. Government’s authority to detain them by filing a writ of habeas corpus. The Executive Branch, however, has maintained that detention is a military necessity, is essential to continuing the fight against terrorism, and that enemy combatants do not have the same rights as U.S. citizens in a federal court. Your assignment for this week is to brief — ExParte Quirin, 317 U.S. 1 (1942) a leading case in the area of habeas corpus. At the end of your brief, detail if you agree with the Court’s holding or not and why.
The Case Brief will be 800–1,000 words. There are no outside sources; only brief the case as reported by the U.S. Supreme Court, and use the citation provided in the correlating module/week assignment.
When “briefing” a case, grasp the problem the court faced (the issue), identify the relevant law the court used to solve it (the rule), analyze how the court applied the rule to the facts, and write out the outcome (the conclusion). This prepares you to both discuss the case and to compare and contrast it to other cases involving a similar issue.
Before attempting to “brief” a case, read the case at least once.
Follow the “IRAC” method in briefing cases:
Facts: Write a brief summary of the facts as the court found them. Eliminate facts that are not relevant to the court’s analysis.
Procedural History: What court authored the opinion? The United States Supreme Court? The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals? If an appellate court issued the decision, how did the lower courts decide the case?
Issue: What is the question to be decided on by the court? Usually, only 1 issue will be discussed, but sometimes there will be more. What are the parties fighting about, and what are theyasking the court to decide?
Rule(s): Determine what the relevant rules of law are that the court uses to make its decision. These rules will be identified and discussed by the court. What rule must the court apply to the facts to determine the outcome?
Application/Analysis: This may be the most important portion of the brief. The court will have examined the facts in light of the rule, and should consider all “sides” and arguments presented toit. How courts apply the rule to the facts and analyze the case must be understood in order to properly predict outcomes in future cases involving the same issue.
Resist the temptation to merely repeat what the court said in analyzing the facts; what does it mean to you? Summarize the court’s rationale in your own words.
Conclusion: What was the final outcome of the case? In 1–2sentences, state the court’s ultimate finding. At the end of your brief, detail if you agree with the court’s holding or not and why.
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