Tag Archives: Texas v. White

Today in Texas History – April 15

From the Annals of the Supreme Court – In1869, the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in Texas v. White which essentially eviscerated the argument of individual state sovereignty apart from the Union.  The SCt ruled that Texas still had the right to sue in the federal courts despite having seceded in 1861.  Texas has sued for an injunction prohibiting George W. White and others from transferring U.S. issued bonds they purchased from the secession-era Texas State Military Board during the Civil War.  The bonds had been issued to Texas as part of the Compromise of 1850, but at the time of the Civil War not all such bonds had been issued.  Texas sold the bonds to raise funds durng the war.  After the war, the US Treasury refused to redeem the war-issued bonds.  Texas sued to reclaim the bonds from the purchasers.  Under Article III, section 2 of the US Constitution, which provides original jurisdiction in the Supreme Court in cases where the State is a party, Texas sued directly in the U.S. Supreme Court   At the SCt, the issue turned on whether Texas, having seceded and not having completed Reconstruction, had status in the Union and therefore the right to sue as a federal court.  Texas argued that the Union was indestructible and Texas’ status as a state remained unchanged by the war.  White argued that Texas, by seceding from the Union and waging war against the United States, had lost the status of a state in the Union and therefore had no right to sue in the SCt. In a five-to-three decision authored by Chief Justice S. P. Chase, the court held the Union to be indestructible and thus not dissoluble by any act of a state, the government, or the people.

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