Oops, big lump of your posts....

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WJC

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I remain baffled as to why, in an age of railroads and telegraphs, that it took Congress three months to get back to Washington and respond to the state of war. Seems like an urgent situation to me.
Thanks for your response.
The Senate met from March 4, 1861 to March 28, 1861. That session had been called by President Buchanan. Lincoln called for the extraordinary session which met beginning July 4, 1861 (by tradition it would have begun December 1, 1861.
Perhaps we are applying presentism in thinking there should have been greater urgency. Perhaps both Houses recognized that the resolution of the situation was the responsibility of the Executive. Certainly, when one reads the Congressional Globe entries, it appears members proceeded in a calm, unhurried, deliberative fashion: the Senate confirmed Lincoln's call for volunteers and authorized military spending.
 

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WJC

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This is not to say that legal historians of the Civil War are predominantly presentist, or that they are only interested in whether Lincoln was right. This is to say that there is in much Civil War history a central presentist preoccupation that does not loom as large in any other era, namely, whether particular legal and constitutional actions were justified in some absolute sense. We historians do not generally ask whether Lord Grenville was right to issue the Stamp Act, or whether Jackson was right to crush the Bank of the United States or whether Wilson was right to sign the Treaty of Versailles. We do not, in other words, usually ask whether a historical actor was right or wrong by our lights. Yet we cannot resist asking this about legal actors during the Civil War, particularly Lincoln. I simply do not know if Lincoln was right to suspend the writ of habeas corpus, and I maintain we cannot answer this question historically. We might be able to explain why he suspended the writ, or the effects of its suspension then and afterwards. We can also bring to light the competing legal arguments made at the time, and explain why some won and others lost. But we cannot survey the sources and come to a definitive ruling on the merits on these central legal questions any more than we can come to definitive understanding of the original meaning of the due process clause. We will never know if Lincoln was right or justified in his legal actions any more than we will know whether Cromwell and his supporters were right to execute Charles I.
Thanks for your response and reposting the excerpt.
As I stated, nowhere in this do I read that Lincoln's actions and statements are above examination and criticism. Instead, it is the author's position (with which I agree) that we can never know whether his decision was 'right'. We do know that it was part of a larger group of decisions that, taken together, saved our Union.
 

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Thanks for your response and reposting the excerpt.
As I stated, nowhere in this do I read that Lincoln's actions and statements are above examination and criticism. Instead, it is the author's position (with which I agree) that we can never know whether his decision was 'right'. We do know that it was part of a larger group of decisions that, taken together, saved our Union.
Agree, Here in Secession and politics we stand upon a mountain of examination and criticism much of it about Lincoln. Some of it is good.
 

jgoodguy

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You had better look around the neighborhood before you declare an American president does not have to explain himself to the Supreme Court of the United States.
I suggest that a Sitting President does not have to explain himself to SCOTUS. Last I checked the only check on a sitting President is Congress and the next election.

Even Taney realized that.
 
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I suggest that a Sitting President does not have to explain himself to SCOTUS. Last I checked the only check on a sitting President is Congress and the next election.

Even Taney realized that.
You are mistaken. An American president is bound by a federal court's decision. He may appeal, but this is how it works. He doesn't get to ignore the Court once a decision is rendered.

Oh, except Lincoln.
 
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The Arizona Territory left largely because the Federal army had left for back east, leaving settlers to the whims of the Apache, that and Texas was right next door, so it was the logical choice to join the CSA with no Federal support and close proximity to El Paso.
The Arizona settlers were very pragmatic.
 

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You are mistaken. An American president is bound by a federal court's decision. He may appeal, but this is how it works. He doesn't get to ignore the Court once a decision is rendered.

Oh, except Lincoln.
Interesting idea. So exactly how does the SCOTUS enforce its decision without the Executive Branch?
 
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Interesting idea. So exactly how does the SCOTUS enforce its decision without the Executive Branch?
It can't. It relies on our collective acceptance of the Constitution and the rule of law. Any law enforcement agency, state, local or federal, may move to enforce a federal court's decision.

Barney Fife may do so in the absence of federal Executive Branch enforcement, provided, Sheriff Griffith will allow him to load his pistol.

It's worked out pretty well for the past 240 years.
 
You are mistaken. An American president is bound by a federal court's decision. He may appeal, but this is how it works. He doesn't get to ignore the Court once a decision is rendered.

Oh, except Lincoln.
You would be mistaken. While the Executive Branch is empowered to enforce the law, they also on occasion interpret the law and sometimes even ignore the Supreme Court. You point out Lincoln but Jefferson and Jackson ignored SCOTUS before Lincoln and FDR ignored them after. In Lincoln's case he didn't actually ignore the ruling of SCOTUS but rather that of a Supreme Court Justice carrying out his duties as a Federal Circuit judge.
 

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Worcester v. Georgia

In a popular quotation that is believed to be apocryphal, President Andrew Jackson reportedly responded: "John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!" This derives from Jackson's comments on the case in a letter to John Coffee, ". . . the decision of the Supreme Court has fell still born, and they find that they cannot coerce Georgia to yield to its mandate."[4]
The Court did not ask federal marshals to carry out the decision, as had become standard.[5] Worcester thus imposed no obligations on Jackson; there was nothing for him to enforce.[6][7] This may be seen as a prudential decision, for avoiding the possibility of political conflict between the Court and the Executive, while still delivering what appeared to be a pro-Indian decision.[8]
 

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Ex parte Merryman

Finally, Taney's final order in Merryman never actually ordered Cadwalader (the actual defendant), the Army, Lincoln or his administration, or anyone else to release John Merryman.​
Aftermath
Lincoln explains noncompliance with Taney's opinion[edit]
Lincoln's administration did not comply with the rule of law or legal principle announced by Chief Justice Taney in his Merryman opinion, and Lincoln did not order his subordinates to comply with Taney's opinion. Alternatively, because Taney's order did not direct Lincoln to comply in any specific manner, it could be maintained that the Lincoln administration did not fail to comply with its legal obligations in connection with Merryman.​
 

WJC

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You are mistaken. An American president is bound by a federal court's decision. He may appeal, but this is how it works. He doesn't get to ignore the Court once a decision is rendered.
Oh, except Lincoln.
"John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it!" --- Andrew Jackson's response to Worcester v Georgia, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515 (1832). Marshall's ruling was never enforced.
Lincoln was never ordered to obey a SCOTUS decision. In Ex parte Merryman, 17 F. Cas. 144 (C.C.D. Md. 1861), Taney 'suggested' a course of action in a vague decision; Lincoln ignored it.
Presidents usually find it politically expedient not to ignore SCOTUS rulings, so there has never been another test case.
 

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"John Marshall has made his decision: now let him enforce it!" --- Andrew Jackson's response to Worcester v Georgia, 31 U.S. (6 Pet.) 515 (1832). Marshall's ruling was never enforced.
Presidents usually find it politically expedient not to ignore SCOTUS rulings, so there has never been another test case.
When the President Defies the Supreme Court

The New Yorker’s Jeff Shesol took note of an incident where President Thomas Jefferson disregarded a ruling issued by a single Supreme Court associate justice. (Back then, the justices “rode circuit” and traveled to courts around the country to hear appeals.)​
In December, 1807, at Jefferson’s insistence, Congress passed the Embargo Act, a drastic—and absurdly self-destructive—attempt to punish Britain for seizing American merchant ships; the act cut off all U.S. exports to any nation. In the Mississippi Territory, produce rotted in barns; in New England, dockworkers and sailors sat idle. Then, six months later, a Jefferson appointee to the Supreme Court, William Johnson, ruled that the President had exceeded his authority. To Jefferson, this marked a bitter betrayal. He took the extraordinary step of soliciting a dissenting opinion from his Attorney General, Caesar A. Rodney, distributing it to the press, and sending it to the customs agents who continued to enforce the embargo.​
But the powers and responsibilities of both the presidency and the Supreme Court are scarcely comparable to that era. In all other cases, Jefferson acquiesced to Chief Justice John Marshall’s rulings.​
 

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You had better look around the neighborhood before you declare an American president does not have to explain himself to the Supreme Court of the United States.
:whistling: 2 co-equal powers--a Constitutionally elected President and a concurring, as well as duly, seated Congress, when It was legally constituted, versus SCOTUS = check-mate
 
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