Vol. 118 No. 2

Constitutional Law
Article

THE LAW(?) OF THE LINCOLN ASSASSINATION

Martin S. Lederman*

Shortly after John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln on April 14, 1865, President Andrew Johnson directed that Booth’s alleged coconspirators be tried in a makeshift military tribunal, rather than in the Article III court that was open for business just a few blocks from Ford’s Theatre. Johnson’s decision implicated a fundamental constitu­tional question that was heatedly debated throughout the Civil War: When, if ever, may the federal[...]