Texas v. White 7 Wallace 700 (1869)

Author:Harold M. Hyman

Page 2680

In 1867 the Court accepted ORIGINAL JURISDICTION of Texas v. White because one party was a state (Article III, section 2). So doing, the Court raised again, as in EX PARTE MILLIGAN (1866) and the TEST OATH cases, a possibility of judicial intervention into military reconstruction. Some decision on the state-status question was needed. Democrats insisted that the nation was not empowered to answer the state-status question and that the South's states, like bottom-weighted dolls, had sprung up, fully restored, with prevailing race hierarchies intact, in the wake of Union Army advances. Almost all Republicans assumed that the South's states, by attempting to secede, had twisted themselves out of their proper federal relations; that the Constitution (Article IV, section 4) imposed a duty on the nation to guarantee every state a REPUBLICAN FORM OF GOVERNMENT; and that the nation also possessed temporary "grasp of war" dominion over the defeated states.

Post-Appomattox Texas wished to recover possession of state bonds that secessionist Texas had sold. Counsel for bond buyers argued in 1869, when the Supreme Court heard Texas v. White, that Texas was always a state and the sales were valid. Special counsel for Texas, Unionist George Washington Paschal, author of a recent treatise on the Constitution, insisted that though Texas remained a state, its acts adverse to federal responsibilities invalidated the bond sales; the state should recover the bonds.

Chief Justice SALMON P. CHASE, for the majority of the Court, accepted and restated Paschal's position. The Constitution "looks to an...

To continue reading