IRAC method


IRAC is primarily an acronym that stands for Issues, Rule, Application, and Conclusion. It describes a methodology used in legal analysis. This format is commonly advocated for in bar exams as well as the law school to answer hypothetical questions. Always the fact about the case is subject to each step of I.R.A.C. Issues at hand are identified from the facts stipulated. Secondly, the facts generate establishment of the right rules, remember the rules are necessary when construing the facts. On the other hand, analysis combines interpretation of both the rules as well as facts. Finally, the conclusion is the act of making decision typically on rules to facts for every issue as they dimly apply.

IRAC Method

IRAC method is usually used to deconstruct a judicial opinion, but can also be used on anything one reads. Its principal element is to filter out facts from a case at hand.  Mostly it is practiced by law schools together with bar exams to allow identification as well as assess matters of reasoning into an opinion. In this report, I shall look at Reid v. Covert case analysis with regards to IRAC method in a systematic manner.

Reid v. Covert

It is a United States Supreme Court justice; the court holds that civilians who are outsiders of U.S. cannot be put on trial by U.S. military tribunal (Sweezy V. New Hampshire (1957), 1975, p. 37). However, they are guaranteed protection by US Constitution.


Mrs. Clarice covert murdered the husband who was a sergeant in the U.S Air Force, based in the United Kingdom. Although at the time of the incident, she was a resident at the airbase. She was later convicted of murder charges by the court martial as cited by article 118 of Military Justice for Uniform Code. Notably, this court was constituted by personnel from the Air Force officers. The Military tribunal had jurisdiction authority from the martial law that stipulated that with regards to any treaty reached by any party or parties and U.S on international law regarding their soldiers together with their dependents is bidding to U.S [sic] (Levy, Karst, & Winkler, 2000, p. 25).

Later on, Clarice Covert was convicted in a military tribunal for murdering her husband (Reid V. Covert, 1956 & 1957). During this time when the offense was alleged, there was an executive agreement that came into effect between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. It gave authority to military courts in U.S to exercise jurisdiction on offenses executed by either American dependents or soldiers (Levy, Karst, & Winkler, 2000, p. 16).

Upon ruling, Mrs. Covert’s lawyer protested the decision by claiming that his client was insane during the incident though the court martial found Mrs. Covert guilty of murder and gave a verdict for life detention. It was later appealed to an appellate court where the ruling was overturned since she was insane and the tribunal had no mandate to sentence a civilian.


The Supreme Court found out that, there is no treaty with a foreign country that can confer its power on either US Congress or any arm of the government. As stipulated in the supreme law that is the Constitution tribunal (Reid V. Covert (1956 & 1957): Sweezy V. New Hampshire (1957), 1975, p. 45). The court also holds that U.S Patriots abroad are subjected to the right of Fifth Amendment as well as sixth amendments of the Constitution on protections.

The Fifth Amendment provided that no individual should be questioned on capital crime or else it is an infamous crime and a grand jury indicts it except cases from the naval or military and the actual service is propagated by war or public danger. The sixth amendment declared that criminal prosecution should be as fast as possible since the accused had the right of speedy as well as fair trial by the state and district jury where the crime was committed.


The court admitted to the plea of the petitioner by giving induction that U.S citizens were entitled to protections in the Bill of Rights with exceptions of crime committed on foreign soils. Furthermore, it distinguished Reid case from the Insular case that provides regulation and rules which govern temporary territories visa a vie the institution and tradition. Justice Black reiterated: ” Bill of rights, as well as other protections, provides in the Constitution in contrast to arbitrary states are not operational when they show either inconvenience or expediency motives. Otherwise, it can lead to a dangerous practice and when allowed to thrive would be detrimental to the written constitution and less privilege to the needs of our state [sic]”  (Levy, Karst, & Winkler, 2000, p. 39).On the other hand, Justice Harlan concurred and reaffirmed application of the sixth amendment together with the fifth amendment on dependents of servicemen rights.


Though, the court had initially ruled against Mrs. Covert. It had to uphold the case in favor of the petitioner as presented by her lawyer Fredrick Bernays Wiener through a rehearing in the Supreme Court. It was the only time the Supreme Court revised the outcome of the petition on rehearing tribunal (Reid V. Covert (1956 & 1957): Sweezy V. New Hampshire (1957), 1975, p. 89).



A Discussion of Boumediene V. Bush: Symposium. (2008)). New England Law Review.

Garcia, M. (2008). Boumediene V. Bush: Guantanamo Detainees’ Right to Habeas Corpus. Congressional Research Service.

Government under Martial Law: A Humanities Exhibit, & Duncan V. Kahanamoku, a Living History Program. (1991). Judiciary History Center.

Korematsu V. United States (1944): Duncan V. Kahanamoku (1946). (1975). U Publications of America.

Levy, L., Karst, K., & Winkler, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of the American Constitution. Macmillan Reference USA.

Reid V. Covert (1956 & 1957): Sweezy V. New Hampshire (1957). (1975). U Publications of America.



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