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Senate. Select Comm. on Georgia Resolution. Report on state jurisdiction over Indian tribes, 1831
Senate No. 12 Report of the Select Committee of the Senate upon the late resolution of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia. Boston :
Dutton & Wentworth, printers to the State, 1831. On January 18, 1831, seven men were appointed to see if the General Court should respond to a
communication from the State of Georgia. Georgia declared a state could extend its jurisdiction over the persons and territories of Indians whose lands and
sovereignty within Georgia's boundaries had been guaranteed by federal treaty. The Georgia Legislature directed its executive departments to disregard any
orders to the contrary made by federal courts. Report: the Committee gave some background on the issue. In 1785, a treaty between the United States
and the Cherokee, with affected states included, laid out the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation, within which the Cherokee had their own government
and laws. There had been an additional sixteen treaties since that time that cemented the nationhood of the Cherokee. In 1828, Georgia passed a law
abrogating all of that and declaring the Cherokee were just occupants of Georgia soil; the relationship between the Cherokee and the State of Georgia
was one of pupilage. Georgia declared all the treaties unconstitutional. A capital criminal case arose in which the defendant appealed to the United
States Supreme Court on jurisdictional grounds. The Chief Justice issued a writ of error that required Georgia to present its views to the Supreme
Court. Its Legislature passed a resolve saying the Chief Justice was violating Georgia's rights by asking for a response and directing all the State's
executive officers not to respond to the Court at all. Georgia then proceeded to execute the defendant. The Cherokee asked the Supreme court for a
restraining order against Georgia. The Committee felt that for a state to disregard an order of the Supreme Court and to declare federal laws
unconstitutional was tantamount to civil war. The President of the United States opted not to interfere in Georgia's handling of the case, even though, as the
Committee pointed out, he was to "take care that the laws are faithfully executed." The Committee respectfully disagreed with the President. Should
the General Court express an opinion? The Committee said yes and presented a series of resolves: 1) Laws passed by Congress, the federal Constitution
and treaties are the law of the land. Judges in every state are bound thereby on federal issues 2) The federal judiciary is responsible for all cases
arising under the federal Constitution and no state can disregard that jurisdiction 3) It is the duty of the President to faithfully execute federal
laws 4) Massachusetts Senators and Representatives should do all they could to sustain the authority of the United States government 5) Governor
Lincoln was to send copies of the resolves to all the other states. (Digitized from a microfilm copy of title originally held by the Massachusetts State
Title:   Report of the Select Committee of the Senate upon the late resolutions of the General Assembly of the State of Georgia.
OCLC Number:   260322921
Available Volumes
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