Ableman v. Booth

PETITIONER: Stephen V. R. Ableman
RESPONDENT: Sherman Booth

DECIDED BY: Taney Court (1858-1860)

ARGUED: Jan 19, 1859
DECIDED: Mar 07, 1859

Facts of the case

Sherman Booth petitioned a local court judge for the release of Joshua Glover, a runaway slave held in federal custody in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Though the federal authorities did not accept the judge's order, a mob eventually freed Glover. Booth was charged with aiding the escape of a runaway slave in violation of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. Booth then successfully petitioned the Supreme Court of Wisconsin for his release, through a writ of habeas corpus. Booth was then convicted in the United States District Court for the District of Wisconsin and detained again. Booth again petitioned the Supreme Court of Wisconsin for his release, alleging that the Fugitive Slave Act was unconstitutional and that the Federal District Court lacked jurisdiction. Booth was again released by the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The United States appealed to the Supreme Court.


Did the Supreme Court of Wisconsin have the authority to issue the writs of habeas corpus that released Booth?