Ahrens v. Clark,
335 U.S. 188 (1948)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Ahrens v. Clark, 335 U.S. 188 (1948)

Ahrens v. Clark

No. 446

Argued March 29, 1948

Decided June 21, 1948

335 U.S. 188


1. A federal district court is without jurisdiction to issue a writ of habeas corpus if the person detained is not within the territorial jurisdiction of the court when the petition is filed. Pp. 335 U. S. 189-193.

2. The history of the statute (28 U.S.C. § 452) conferring power on the district courts, "within their respective jurisdictions," to grant writs of habeas corpus, indicates that conclusion. Pp. 335 U. S. 191-193.

3. Considerations of policy which might warrant giving the district courts discretion in this matter are for Congress, not the courts. Pp. 335 U. S. 192-193.

4. The jurisdictional requirement that the person for whose relief a petition for a writ of habeas corpus is intended must be within the territorial jurisdiction of the district court is one which Congress has imposed on the power of the district court to act, and it may not be waived by the parties. P. 335 U. S. 193.

5. Ex parte Endo, 323 U. S. 283, distinguished. P. 335 U. S. 193.


The District Court dismissed petitioners' applications for writs of habeas corpus to secure their release from detention under removal orders issued by the Attorney General under a Presidential Proclamation pursuant to the Alien Enemy Act. The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia dismissed on appeal. This Court granted certiorari. 333 U.S. 826. Affirmed, p. 335 U. S. 193.

Page 335 U. S. 189

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