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Guide to Military Justice Research
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Definition of Military Justice

Military Justice in the United States is a separate system for the discipline and/or punishment of military personnel, authorized by the Constitution and authored by the Legislative and Executive branches of the United States government, with the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of matters brought under it.

BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY. 1083 (9th ed. 2009) defines it as, "a structure of punitive measures designed to foster order, morale, and discipline within the military."


Military Law

According to BLACK'S LAW DICTIONARY 1083 (9th ed. 2009) military law is the branch of public law governing military discipline and other rules regarding service in the armed services. It is exercised both in peacetime and in  war, is recognized by civil courts, and includes rules far broader than for the punishment of offenders. --also termed military justice - Sometimes loosely termed martial law.


The Constitution of the United States

Article I Section 9 of the United States Constitution provides:...

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States; ...

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Article II Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides...

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.


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