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Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly relative to Interpostion (Mar. 9, 1956)

<strong.Joint Resolution of the Georgia General Assembly

Mar. 9, 1956


No. 130 (House Resolution No. 185).

A Resolution.

A resolution to declare the Supreme Court decisions of May 17, 1954, and May 31, 1955, in the school segregation cases, and all similar decisions, by the Supreme Court null, void and of no effect; to declare that a contest of powers has arisen between the State of Georgia and the Supreme Court of the United States; to invoke the doctrine of interposition; and for other purposes.

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring, that the General Assembly of Georgia doth hereby unequivocally express a firm and determined resolution to main and defend the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of this state against every attempt, whether foreign or domestic, to undermine and destroy the fundamental principles, embodies in our basic law, by which the liberty of the people and the sovereignty of the States, in their proper spheres, have been long protected and assured;

That the General Assembly of Georgia doth explicitly and pre-emptorily declare that it views the powers of the Federal Government as resulting solely from the compact, to which the States are parties, as limited by the plain sense and intention of the instrument creating that compact;

That the General Assembly of Georgia asserts that the powers of the Federal Government are valid only to the extent that these powers have been enumerated in the compact to which the various States assented originally and to which the States have assented in subsequent amendments validly adopted and ratified;

That the very nature of this basic compact, apparent upon its face, is that the ratifying States, parties thereto, have agreed voluntarily to surrender certain of their sovereign rights, but only certain of these sovereign rights, to a Federal Government thus constituted; and that all powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, have been reserved to the States respectively, or to the people;

That the State of Georgia has at no time surrendered to the General Government its right to maintain racially separate public schools and other public facilities;

That the State of Georgia, in ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, did not agree, nor did the other States ratifying the Fourteenth Amendment agree, that the power to operate racially separate public schools and other facilities was to be prohibited to them thereby;

And as evidence of such understanding, the General Assembly of Georgia notes that the very Congress that submitted the Fourteenth Amendment for ratification established separate schools in the District of Columbia and that in more than one instance the same State legislature that ratified the Fourteenth Amendment also provided for systems of racially separate public schools;

That the General Assembly of Georgia denies that the Supreme Court of the United States had the right which it asserted in the school cases, decided by it on May 17, 1954, to enlarge the language and meaning of the compact by the States in an effort to withdraw from the States powers reserved to them and as daily exercised by them for almost a century;

That a question of contested power has arisen; the Supreme Court of the United States asserts, for its part, that the States did in fact prohibit unto themselves the power to maintain racially separate public institutions and the State of Georgia, for its part, asserts that it and its sister States have never surrendered such right;

That this assertion upon the part of the Supreme Court of the United States, accompanied by threats of coercion and compulsion against the sovereign States of this Union, constitutes a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous attempt by the court to prohibit to the States certain rights and powers never surrendered by them;

That the General Assembly of Georgia asserts that whenever the General Government attempts to engage in the deliberate, palpable and dangerous exercise of powers not granted to it, the States who are parties to the compact have the right, and are in duty bound, to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the authorities, rights and liberties appertaining to them;

That failure on the part of this State thus to assert its clear rights would be construed as acquiescence in the surrender thereof; and that such submissive acquiescence to the seizure of one right would in the end lead to the surrender of all rights, and inevitably to the consolidation of the States into one sovereignty, contrary to the sacred compact by which this Union of States was created;

That the question of contested power asserted in this resolution is not within the province of the court to determine because the court itself seeks to usury, the powers which have been reserved to the States, and, therefore, under these circumstances, the judgment of all of the parties to the compact must be sought to resolve the question. The Supreme Court is not a party to the compact, but a creature of the compact and the question of contest powers should not be settled by the creature seeking to usurp the power, but by the parties to the compact who are the people of the respective States in whom ultimate sovereignty finally reposes;

That the legislation making provision for grants for the benefit of children of school age for educational purposes, as authorized by the Amendment ratified by the people at the general election held in November, 1954, whereby Section 13 was added to Article VIII of the Georgia Constitution, will enable the people themselves to provide an educational establishment serviceable and satisfactory and in keeping with social structure of the State, if the doctrine of said school cases of may 17, 1954, is eventually by naked force alone thrust upon this State;

That the doctrine of said decisions should not be forced upon the people of this State, and the public schools terminated thereby, for the court was without jurisdiction, power or authority to entertain said school cases, or to announce the doctrine therein asserted by it;

That the court was without jurisdiction of said cases because (1) the jurisdiction of the court granted by the Constitution is limited to judicial cases in law and equity, and said cases were not of a judicial nature and character, nor did they involve controversies in law or equity, but, on the contrary, the great subjects of the controversy are of a legislative character, and not a judicial character, and are determinable only by the people themselves speaking through their legislative bodies; (2) the essential nature and effect of the proceedings relating exclusively to public schools operated by and under the authority of States, and pursuant to State laws and regulations, said cases were suits against the States, and the Supreme Court was without power or authority to try said cases, brought by individuals against States, because the Constitution forbids the court to entertain suits by individuals against a State unless the State has consented to be sued;

That if said court had had jurisdiction and authority to try and determine said cases, it was powerless to interfere with the operation of the public schools of States, because the Constitution of the United States does not confer upon the General Government any power or authority over such schools or over the subject of education, jurisdiction over these matters being reserved to the States, nor did the States by the Fourteenth Amendment authorize any interference on the part of the judicial department or any other department of the Federal Government with the operation by the States of such public schools as they might in their discretion see fit to establish and operate;

That by said cases the court announces its power to adjudge State laws unconstitutional upon the basis of the court’s opinion of such laws as tested by rules of the inexact and speculative theories of psychological knowledge, which power and authority is beyond the jurisdiction of said court;

That if the court is permitted to exercise the power to judge the nature and effect of a law by supposed principles of psychological theory, and to hold the statute or Constitution of a State unconstitutional because of the opinions of the judges as to its suitability, the States will have been destroyed, and the indestructible Union of indestructible States established by the Constitution of the United States will have ceased to exist, and in its stead the court will have created, without jurisdiction or authority from the people, one central government of total power;

That implementing its decision of May 17, 1954, said court on May 31, 1955, upon further consideration of said cases, said: “All provisions of Federal, State, or local law … must yield” to said decision of May 17, 1954; said court thereby presuming arrogantly to give orders to the State of Georgia;

That it is clear that said court has deliberately resolved to disobey the Constitution of the United States, and to flout and defy the supreme law of the land;

That the State of Georgia has the right to operate and maintain a public school system utilizing such educational methods therein as in her judgment are conducive to the welfare of those to be educated and the people of the State generally, this being a governmental responsibility which the State has assumed lawfully, and her rights in this respect have not in any wise been delegated to the Central Government, but, on the contrary, she and the other States have reserved such matters to themselves by the terms of the Tenth Amendment. Being possessed of this lawful right, the State of Georgia is possessed of power to repel every unlawful interference therewith;

That the duty and responsibility of protecting life, property and the priceless possessions of freedom rests upon the Government of Georgia as to all those within her territorial limits. The State alone has this responsibility. Laboring under this high obligation she is possessed of the means to effectuate it. It is the duty of this State in flagrant cases such as this to interpose its powers between its people and the effort of said court to assert an unlawful dominion over them;

Therefore, be it further resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring:

First: That said decisions and orders of the Supreme Court of the United States relating to separation of the races in the public institutions of a State as announced and promulgated by said court on May 17, 1954, and May 31, 1955, are null, void and of no force or effect;

Second: That hereby there is declared the firm intention of this State to take all appropriate measures honorably and constitutionally available to the State, to avoid this illegal encroachment upon the rights of her people;

Third: That we urge upon our sister States firm and deliberate efforts upon their part to check this and further encroachment on the part of the General Government, and on the part of said court through judicial legislation, upon the reserved powers of all the States, that by united efforts the States may be preserved;

Fourth: That a copy of this resolution be transmitted by His Excellency the Governor to the Governor and legislature of each of the other States, to the President of the United States, to each of the Houses of Congress, to Georgia’s Representatives and Senators in the Congress, and to the Supreme Court of the United States for its information.

Approved March 9, 1956.

Ga. Laws 1956, pp. 642-648.