Ludecke v. Watkins,
335 U.S. 160 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ludecke v. Watkins, 335 U.S. 160 (1948)

Ludecke v. Watkins

No. 723

Argued May 3-4, 1948

Decided June 21, 1948

335 U.S. 160


Under authority of the Alien Enemy Act of 1798, which empowers the President, whenever there is a "declared war" between the United States and any foreign country, to provide for the removal of alien enemies from the United States, the President, on July 14, 1945, directed the removal of all alien enemies "deemed by the Attorney General to be dangerous" to the public safety. The Attorney General, on January 18, 1946, ordered removal of petitioner, a German national, from the United States. Challenging the validity of the removal order, petitioner instituted habeas corpus proceedings in the Federal District Court to secure his release from detention under the order.


1. The Alien Enemy Act precludes judicial review of the removal order. Pp. 335 U. S. 163-166.

2. In the circumstances of relations between the United States and Germany, there exists a "declared war" notwithstanding the cessation of actual hostilities, and the order is enforceable. Pp. 335 U. S. 166-170.

3. The Alien Enemy Act, construed as permitting resort to the courts only to challenge its validity and construction, and to raise questions of the existence of a "declared war" and of alien enemy status, does not violate the Bill of lights of the Federal Constitution. Pp. 335 U. S. 170-171.

4. The fact that hearings are utilized by the Executive to secure an informed basis for the exercise of the summary power conferred by the Act does not empower the courts to retry such hearings, nor does it make the withholding of such power from the courts a denial of due process. Pp. 335 U. S. 171-172.

163 F.2d 143 affirmed.

Petitioner, in custody under an order of the Attorney General for his removal from the United States under the Alien Enemy Act, applied to the District Court for a writ of habeas corpus for release from detention under the

Page 335 U. S. 161

order. The District Court's denial of the writ was affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals. 163 F.2d 143. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 865. Affirmed, p. 335 U. S. 173.

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