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Justice Marshall's ruling in Worcester v. Georgia
About North Georgia

Dear Neighbors(I'm a South Carolinian:)

I enjoy your website very much. I do have a pointer as far as the history, involving the "Cherokee," goes, though. On your page, it is written:

<<<. In Cherokee Nation v. Georgia Chief Justice John Marshall denied the right of the Cherokee to bring a suit against the state. However, a year later, in a more properly formulated case, Worcester v. Georgia, the court ruled that the laws of Georgia were invalid in Cherokee land.>>>

Well, that is partially true, but it does not tell the entire story. The Worcester v. Georgia case also proclaimed that the "removal" bill (which was forced through congress in order to make the Ani Yun'wiya move away from their ancestral home) was "plain ol'" unconstitutional. Andrew Jackson, however, made the statement to the effect that "Marshall has made his ruling, now tell him to enforce it." Therefore, the "removal" was illegal. I think it is important to point this out to people so that they have the complete picture. Thank you, and best wishes for happy holidays!

Julia

Thanks for the letter. I do not have a copy of the opinion in house. This is from memory.

The ruling was, technically, overturning Georgia's attempt to extend its power on the Cherokee Nation. However, the ruling (Cherokee Nation was sovereign and thus fell under a clause in the Constitution) did invalidate the Indian Removal Act, since, by Article 2 the only method of dealing with a sovereign nation is treaty. I am not sure whether Mr. Marshall stated this in his opinion, but it is only an effect of the ruling (Mr Marshall did not rule on the Indian Removal Law, but his ruling effected it). One way or the other, the entire episode was a travesty. BTW, Mr. Jackson was not the first, nor the last president to ignore a Supreme Court ruling, and while the quote you mention is frequently attributed to Jackson he most likely never said it.

The first legal agreement between the US and Georgia to remove Native Americans was in 1802, under Thomas Jefferson.

Regardless, the Treaty of New Echota, no matter how corrupt, gave Andy Jackson the correct legal tool with which to remove the Cherokee. Its passage in the US Senate is perhaps the greatest mistake that body of government has ever made.

The season's best to you and yours.


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