In re Ross

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In re Ross
Seal of the United States Supreme Court.svg
Argued April 30 – May 1, 1891
Decided May 25, 1891
Full case nameRoss v. McIntyre, Superintendent of the Penitentiary of the State of New York at Albany
Citations140 U.S. 453 (more)
11 S. Ct. 897; 35 L. Ed. 581; 1891 U.S. LEXIS 2479
A vessel being American is evidence that the seamen on board are such.
Court membership
Chief Justice
Melville Fuller
Associate Justices
Stephen J. Field · Joseph P. Bradley
John M. Harlan · Horace Gray
Samuel Blatchford · Lucius Q. C. Lamar II
David J. Brewer · Henry B. Brown
Case opinions
MajorityField, joined by unanimous

In re Ross or Ross v. McIntyre, 140 U.S. 453 (1891), was a United States Supreme Court case decided on May 21, 1891. It dealt with the application of US law by United States consular courts over foreign sailors on US-flagged ships in countries where the United States exercised extraterritorial jurisdiction.


John M. Ross, a Canadian sailor on the American ship Bullion, was convicted in the US consular court in Yokohama of murder on the ship while it was in Yokohama before the US consul general at Kanagawa, Thomas van Buren. He was sentenced to death, but President Rutherford B. Hayes commuted the sentence to a life sentence of hard labor at Albany penitentiary. Although Ross accepted the commutation, he later sought a writ of habeas corpus for his release on the grounds that having been born on Prince Edward Island he was a British subject and so not subject to the jurisdiction of an American Consular Court.


The Supreme Court upheld the jurisdiction of the court on the basis that having enrolled on a United States ship he became subject to the jurisdiction of United States courts.

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