The evolution of the doctrine of interposition
Barnes, Harry Woodruff
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Just one year ago, the legislature of the State of Alabama declared the integration order of the United States Supreme Court to be "null, void, and of no effect" and that "this state is not bound to abide thereby".1 In the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798, Thomas Jefferson expressed the hope that other states along with Kentucky "will concur in declaring these acts void and of no force".2 Because of its current importance and its long history, interposition seems worthy of closer study. This paper, then, is intended to be a study of the historical instances where the doctrine of interposition has been need. The paper is more a presentation of historical instances then a brief either for or against interposition. If the weight of the evidence seems to favor interposition, it is possibly because the author was reared in the north, and this may be a reaction against the weight of the evidence which is presented in the North. Interposition for the purposes of this paper shall be defined as any attempt, based upon legal arguments, by state or local governments to revoke a federal statute or action which le not in their own interests. Nullification, on the other hand, is only one form of Interposition. Nullification is the declaration by a state or local government that a federal law or action is null and sold in that state or locality. The paper is organized chronologically. Chapter one deals with the historical and philosophical bases for the doctrine of interposition. The subsequent chapters treat respectively of the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1793, the Hartford Convention, The South Carolina Nullification Ordinance, and the Supreme Court Decision of 1954 and its aftermath. The final chapter presents some observations and conclusions baaed upon the evidence presented in this paper.