Friday, June 1, 2012

John Ross's Supreme Adventure

In January, 1831, the Cherokee Nation, by John Ross as principal chief, brought a test suit of injunction against Georgia, in the United States Supreme Court. The majority of the court dismissed the suit on the ground that the Cherokee were not a foreign nation within the meaning of the Constitution, two justices dissenting from this opinion. [Source]

From the Library of Congress, American Memory:
John Ross led a bold attempt to resist forced removal through legal proceedings in Washington. In two Supreme Court cases, Cherokee Nation v. Georgia (1831) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832), the Cherokees challenged Georgia laws intended to expel them from their land. 

The Worcester case prompted the sentiment (if not the actual quote) from President Andrew Jackson:  "[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made his decision; now let him enforce it!"  This derives from Jackson's consideration 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." [Source: Wikipedia]

A map of the contested Cherokee land:

C. C. Royce, 1884.

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