The History of the Loyal Denominator

Author:Christopher R. Green
Position::Associate Professor of Law and H.L.A. Hart Scholar in Law and Philosophy, University of Mississippi School of Law. Thanks to Bruce Ackerman, Larry Alexander, Akhil Amar, Will Baude, Tom Colby, Clark Gibbs, John Harrison, Gerard Magliocca, Jack Nowlin, Mike Ramsey, David Upham, and especially Mike Rappaport for discussion, and to the Lamar Order...
Pages:47-146
 
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The History of the Loyal Denominator
Christopher R. Green*
TABLE OF CONTENTS!
Introduction .................................................................................... 48!
I. An Exposition of Loyal Denominatorism ...................................... 52!
A. The Traditional Account and a Timeline ................................. 52!
B. Thirteenth Amendment Legitimacy Requires a Loyal
Denominator ............................................................................ 57!
C. Loyal Denominatorism as Recognition of the Naysaying
Power of Article V .................................................................. 60!
D. Loyal Denominatorism as Legitimation for the
Reconstruction Acts: Ackerman, Harrison, Amar,
and Colby Contrasted .............................................................. 62!
II. A History of Fourteenth Amendment Loyal Denominatorism....... 64!
A. Various Textual Homes for Loyal Denominatorism ............... 65!
B. A Chronological Tour .............................................................. 69!
1. 1861: Andrew Johnsons Assumption of a Loyal
Denominator. ..................................................................... 69!
2. February 1862: Sumners State Suicide Theory................ 71!
3. December 1862: West Virginia. ........................................ 72!
4. 1861 to 1864: Disputes over the Quorum. ........................ 75!
5. 1864 and 1865: Wade-Davis, the Thirteenth
Amendment, and Article II................................................ 77!
6. Late 1865 and 1866: Disputes over Thirteenth
Amendment Legitimacy. ................................................... 86!
7. 1866 to 1867: The Fourteenth Amendment and
Reconstruction Act. ........................................................... 89!
8. Later in 1867 and Beyond. ................................................ 95!
C. A Canvass of Arguments and Support for Loyal
Denominatorism ...................................................................... 99!
1. Officials ............................................................................. 99!
2. Newspapers ..................................................................... 103!
3. Treatises .......................................................................... 106!
4. Others Recognition of Widespread Support .................. 106!
5. Agnosticism ..................................................................... 107!
48 LOUISIANA LAW REVIEW [Vol. 79
Conclusion .................................................................................... 108!
Appendix: Loyal Denominatorism in Context ............................. 109!
1. Expressions of Loyal Denominatorism ........................... 109!
2. Indications of Widespread Loyal Denominatorism ......... 140!
3. Loyal-Denominator Agnosticism .................................... 143!
INTRODUCTION
Americans rightly regard The Fourteenth Amendment as the jewel of
our Constitution. But why exa ctly is it legitimate? In recent years, Bruce
Ackerman has reawakened the legal academy to the issues of Fourteenth
Amendment legitimacy after a long dogmatic slumber, proposing a novel
theory to answer the two chief concerns regarding Fourteenth Amendment
legitimacy.1 The Amendment’s legitimacy faces two challenges: (1)
Congress’s tainted proposal of the Amendment in 1866 while excluding
Southern representatives long after Confederate armies surrendered and
President Andrew Johnson installed new Southern governments; and (2)
tainted Southern ratifications that Congress coerced in 1867 through
militarily imposed black suffrage and required as the price of readmission
to Congress. After Congress fervently debated these problems early in
Reconstruction,2 such discussion largely died down after 1872when the
Copyright 2018, by CHRISTOPHER R. GREEN.
* Associate Professor of Law and H.L.A. Hart Scholar in Law and
Philosophy, University of Mississippi School of Law. Thanks to Bruce Ackerman,
Larry Alexander, Akhil Amar, Will Baude, Tom Colby, Clark Gibbs, John
Harrison, Gerard Magliocca, Jack Nowlin, Mike Ramsey, David Upham, and
especially Mike Rappaport for discussion, and to the Lamar Order of the University
of Mississippi for support. Please send comments to crgreen@olemiss.edu.
1. See Bruce Ackerman, The Storrs Lectures: Discovering the Constitution,
93 YALE L.J. 1017 (1984); BRUCE ACKERMAN, WE THE PEOPLE: FOUNDATIONS
(1991); BRUCE ACKERMAN, WE THE PEOPLE 2: TRANSFORMATIONS 99252
(1998) [hereinafter ACKERMAN, TRANSFORMATIONS].
2. T he 1868 Democratic P arty platform called the Reconstruction Acts,
which required Fourteenth Amendment ratifications as the price o f readmission
to Article I rights, unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void. See Gerhard Peters
& Jo hn Woolley, Political Party Platforms: 1868 Democratic Party Platform ,
AM. PRESIDENCY PROJECT, http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=29579
[https://perma.cc/Z7MK-7FSE]. Francis Blair, Jr., the vice-presidential candidate
in 1868, called the Reconstruction Amendments fraudulent amendments as late
as 1871. CONG. GLOB E, 42nd Cong., 1st Sess. app. 134 (1871). For more on the
congressional debate over legitimacy in 1871, see Christopher R. Green, The
2018] THE HISTORY OF THE LOYAL DENOMINATOR 49
Democratic Party platform treated the issue as settled3with only a small
flare-up during the Civil Rights movement.4 Since Ackerman started work
on the legitimacy issue in 1984, however, the issue has received significant
scholarly treatments from John Harrison,5 Akhil Amar,6 and most recently,
Tom Colby.7
Does the Fourteenth Amendment lack basic legitimacy under Article
V? If so, its legitimacy in contemporary American legal culture is
problematic. Clarifying the exact nature of the Amendment’s legitimacy
Original Sense of the (Equal) Protection Clause: Subsequent Interpretation and
Application, 19 GEO. MASON U. CIV. RTS. L.J. 219, 229 n.28 (2009).
3. T he 1872 Democratic platform stated, “We pledge ourselves to maintain
the union of t hese States, ema ncipation and enfranc hisement; and to oppose any
reopening of the questions settled by the thirtee nth, fourteenth and fifteenth
amendments of the Constitution.” Gerhard Peters & John Woolley, Political Pa rty
Platforms: 1872 Democratic Party Platform, AM. PRESIDENCY PROJECT,
http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/?pid=%2029580 [https://perma.cc/8ZAL-P
C3P].
4. See Walter J. Suthon, The Dubious Origins of the Fourteenth Amendment,
28 TUL. L. REV. 22 (1953); Joint Resolution of Georgia Ge neral Assembly, Mar.
8, 19 57, available at http://goo.gl/XnURIj [https://per ma.cc/6GCN-7EWW];
David Lawrence, There is No Fourteenth Amendment!, U.S. NEWS & WORLD
REPORT, Sept. 27, 1 957, at 140, available at http://www.constitution.org/14ll
/no14th.htm [https://perma.cc/TJ99-QSLT]; Pinckney G. McElwee, The 14th
Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and the Threat That It Poses
to Our Democratic Government, 11 S.C.L.Q. 484 (1959); Joseph L. Call, The
Fourteenth Amendment and Its Skeptical Background, 13 BAY LOR L. REV. 1
(1961); Ferdinand F. Fernandez, The Constitutionality of the Fourteenth
Amendment, 39 CAL. L. REV. 378 (1966); Dyett v. Turner, 439 P.2d 266, 269 74
(Utah 1968 ). A later addition to the literature was Forrest McDonald, Was the
Fourteenth Amendment Constitutionally Adopted?, 1 GA. J. SOUTHERN LEGAL
HIST. 1 (1991).
5. John Harrison, The Lawfulness of the Reconstruction Amendments, 68 U.
CHI. L. REV. 375 (2001).
6. AKHIL REED AMAR, AMERICAS CONSTITUTION: A BIOGRAPHY 36480
(2005) [hereinafter AMAR, AMERICAS CONSTITUTION]; AKHIL REED AMAR,
AMERICAS UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION 7988 (2012) [hereinafter AMAR,
AMERICAS UNWRITTEN CONSTITUTION]; Akhil Amar, Lindsey Ohlsson Worth &
Joshua Alexander Geltzer, Reconstructing the Republic: The Great Transition of
the 1860s, in TRANSITIONS (Austin Sarat ed., 2012) [hereinafter Amar et al.,
Reconstructing the Republic); Akhil Reed Amar, The Lawfulness of Section 5
and Thus of Section 5, 126 HARV . L. REV. FORUM 109 (2013) [hereinafter Amar,
Section 5].
7. T homas Colby, Originalism and the Ratification of the Fourteenth
Amendment, 107 NW. U. L. REV. 1627 (2013).

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