• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court broadly read the federal government’s power when it determined that the federal government could punish a state official for mixed federal-state duties.

Justice Joseph P. BradleyBradley, Joseph P.;Siebold, Ex parte[Siebold, Ex parte] wrote the opinion for the 7-2 majority, upholding the conviction of a Baltimore election official under the 1870 Enforcement ActEnforcement Act of 1870 for stuffing ballot boxes. The act made it illegal for state officials to fail to perform their duties under state or federal law in a federal election. The official argued that he could not be convicted for federal offenses because he was a state official on whom a federal duty could not be imposed. However, noting that this election was for a federal congressional seat, the Supreme Court held that a violation of a mixed federal-state duty was an offense against the federal government for which he could be punished. The Court limited the scope of the 1870 act to federal elections only. Justices Stephen J. Field and Nathan Clifford dissented, but it was Justice Field who asserted that the federal government did not have the right to mandate duties for a state official.Fifteenth Amendment;Siebold, Ex parte[Siebold, Ex parte]Vote, right to;Siebold, Ex parte[Siebold, Ex parte]

Federalism

Fifteenth Amendment

Reconstruction

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