The Sovereign States. Notes of a Citizen of Virginia, by James Jackson Kilpatrick
For more than three years now the country has been living with a constitutional crisis. It already manifests all the important characteristics of the classic constitutional crises of the past. Seven states of the South, taking common council over a matter of deep concern to them, have defied a branch of the Federal government, the Supreme Court, on the ground that the authority claimed in the school segregation decision of 1954 is unconstitutional. The legislatures of six of these states have asserted their right to challenge the Court by appealing to the doctrine of “interposition,” a concept of 18th-century origin according to which an individual state may oppose any Federal action which it believes encroaches on its sovereignty. James Madison used the doctrine in the Virginia Resolutions of 1798, which sought “to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil” of Federalist usurpation, and it was repeatedly resorted to in the 19th century.
About the Author