The Supreme Court of the Confederate States of America

jgoodguy

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The punch line is that there was no Supreme Court of the CSA.
@O' Be Joyful
said:
I found a book review of Justice in Grey, A History of the Judicial System of the Confederate States of America that may help out here.​

While the district courts were organized and showed great vitality in all unoccupied territory until the end of the Civil War, the Supreme Court was never organized. The provision that its personnel should consist of all the district judges assembled at the capital rendered the functioning of the Court impossible as soon as the capital was moved to Richmond. Congress suspended the operation of the law, but was never able to agree on another. The chief difficulty was not that there was much opposition to a Supreme Court, but that the old antagonism against judicial review of state court decisions arose again to block the organization of the court under the Confederate Judiciary Act that granted the right of judicial review. The distractions of war and personal feuds in Congress were also factors in the failure to organize the Supreme Court. Finally, the state supreme courts with great unanimity upheld the vital war legislation of the Confederate government and made a national Supreme Court seem less necessary for the time being.
http://www.vqronline.org/confederate-justice

Now this was written in 1941 so some of it may be a bit dated:​

One cannot read “Justice in Grey” without being deeply impressed by the great respect in which Southerners of the old regime held constitutional government, the courts, and the law. Perhaps in these days of totalitarian despotism it may be finally comprehended that Southerners went to war not for the destruction of free government and human liberty but to preserve their own against a fanatical sectional party, which for years past and for years to come had proclaimed and were to proclaim a higher law doctrine—a law which theoretically made every man’s conscience his own law and in doing so repudiated the Constitution, the laws under it, and the courts that interpreted it, wherever they conflicted with conscience.
But the bolded part in the 2nd paragraph sounds aww-fully familiar. Have I heard that somewhere before?​
Hard to find a copy of Justice in Grey. Some of that does seem familiar.

I think that it is a reasonable assumption that if the CSA really needed a Supreme Court they'd gotten one.

Some links of interest
http://law2.wlu.edu/deptimages/Law Review/68-2White.pdf
http://scholarship.richmond.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1310&context=honors-theses
With the close of the Civil War, the United States Government reestablished its judicial system throughout the South, giving little attention to the courts set up by the Confederate Government other than to declare their establishment and functioning null and void. No attention was given to the Supreme Court of the Confederate States of America since that tribune had no material existence outside of' the brains of its few supporters. Today, we find a reference to this body only on rare occasions for the succeeding years have all but washed away from the sands of time the slight traces of' the attempt to create this Court.​
http://www.virginialawreview.org/sites/virginialawreview.org/files/1257.pdf
 

jgoodguy

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Technically, even in the US Constitution, Congress could set the number of justices to one and then not confirm any or simply not fund the SCOTUS.

The sentence in question is "Section 1. (1) The judicial power of the Confederate States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish."

Here is the sentence diagram.
p0.jpg
Which indicates that " one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts " is one phase.

However, it is obvious that is true from the section itself, it reads.

Section 1. (1) The judicial power of the Confederate States shall be vested in one Supreme Court." Without specifying how in the world the Supreme Court is to be chosen, where it sits, or anything about it.
 

jgoodguy

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The Supreme Court of the Confederate States of America
Author(s): Charles E. George Source: The Virginia Law Register, New Series, Vol. 6, No. 8 (Dec., 1920), pp. 592-599
The tendency seems to have been more and more away from a central court. For this there were
many reasons. The individual states were inclined to feel that the Confederate Government was assuming too great powers. There had not been such a vital need for a national supreme court as to make the establishment of one absolutely necessary. The problem of establishing a central court that would not and could not usurp any of the powers of the state was not easy to solve.

Many of the leading men in the South felt that the Supreme Court of the United States was more or less of a menace and that a court patterned after it would constantly threaten the rights that had already been accorded to the states by the Constitution. In short, that a supreme court of the Confederacy might prove more of a source of trouble than a suitable channel for the settlement of disagreements. In this connection it must again be kept clearly in mind that the Constitution of the Confederate States of America emphasized the independent position of the individual states​
 
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