• Last updated on November 11, 2022

During the Reconstruction era, the Supreme Court declared that secession by a state was unconstitutional and that Congress, in cooperation with the president, had authority to determine policies for the reconstruction of the southern states.

Following the Civil War (1861-1865), the provisional government of Texas attempted to recover title to bonds that had been sold by the Confederate state government during the war. The defendants argued that the state had not yet been readmitted to the Union and thus had no authority to sue in federal court. Writing for a 5-3 majority, Chief Justice Salmon P. ChaseChase, Samuel P.;Texas v. White[Texas v. White] based the Supreme Court’s ruling on the powers of Congress and the president to decide political questions. He stated that because both Congress and the president had recognized the reconstructed government of Texas, it had the right to sue in court. Chase also wrote that the United States was “an indissoluble union of indissoluble states.” The actions of the state’s confederate government in support of the recent rebellion, therefore, were illegal and void. Chase carefully avoided any comments about the constitutionality of the Reconstruction Acts.Reconstruction;Texas v. White[Texas v. White]Political questions;Texas v. White[Texas v. White]

Guarantee clause

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Political questions

States’ rights and state sovereignty

Thomas-Hill hearings

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