by Andrew P. Napolitano
“The Constitution of the United States is a law for rulers and people, equally in war and in peace, and covers with the shield of its protection all classes of men, at all times and under all circumstances.” — Ex parte Milligan, U.S. Supreme Court (1866)
During the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln thought it expedient to silence those in the northern states who challenged his wartime decisions by incarcerating them in military prisons in the name of public safety, he was rebuked by a unanimous Supreme Court. The essence of the rebuke is that no matter the state of difficulties — whether war or pestilence — the Constitution protects our natural rights, and its provisions are to be upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort.
This basic principle of American law — our rights can only be interfered with by means of due process — is being put to a severe test today in most American states.
Here is the backstory.