The Case of Ohio on the Constitutional Amendment

February 3, 1868


Conflict and confusion on whether states can withdraw an assent once voted on arise. This topic is left open for future discussion.


The Case of Ohio on the Constitutional Amendment. The telegraphic sketch of what was done in Congress Friday, published by the Richmond papers Saturday, stated that Mr. Senator Johnson, of Maryland, expressed the opinion that a State could not withdraw its assent to a constitutional amendment. This was placing him nearly opposite to the position he did assume on the question. The following is what he said: "Mr. Johnson said the senator (Mr. Sumner) was doubtless right in saying the amendment had been adopted by the necessary number of States, according to the action of Congress; but there was a difference of opinion, which had been fully stated during the recent debate, on the other proposition, that a State cannot withdraw an assent once given. If the southern States had been States throughout the war, and are now within the meaning of the Constitution, then the amendment had not been adopted. He would not express any decided opinion on whether a State's assent once given could be withdrawn; his present impression was that it could, as otherwise a State once assenting to a proposition was so bound that it could not, ten or fifteen years afterward, reconsider its action. It was a question, however, that would be considered by the Judiciary Committee. His mind was open to better judgment or information, and if satisfied that his opinion was erroneous, he would, of course, concur in the contrary opinion."
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Mallory Haskins




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