Letter: Belief federal law trumps state judicial authority is false, he saysTO THE EDITOR: Joshua Glover, a Missouri slave who escaped from his master in 1854, made his way to Racine, where anti-slavery sentiment ran high.
By: Scott Thomson, Maiden Rock, Pierce County Herald
TO THE EDITOR: Joshua Glover, a Missouri slave who escaped from his master in 1854, made his way to Racine, where anti-slavery sentiment ran high.
Glover’s ex-master, B.S. Garland, found Glover and, aided by two U.S. Marshals, beat Glover with a club, placed him in handcuffs and took him to a Milwaukee jail.
Word of Glover’s abduction spread quickly and hundreds of men came to Milwaukee, where newspaper publisher Sherman Booth rallied the supporters of the citizen army. They decided Glover was entitled to at least a writ of habeas corpus and a trial by jury.
As today, federal officials falsely believed federal law trumps state judicial authority and found the writ invalid. Booth was arrested and indicted by a grand jury.
Judge Smith of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, drawing from the 10th Amendment, said they would never accept this idea:
“An officer of the United States, armed with process to arrest a fugitive from service, is clothed with entire immunity from state authority; to commit whatever crime or outrage against the laws of the state; their own high prerogative writ of habeas corpus shall be annulled, their authority defied, their officers resisted, the process of their own courts condemned, their territory invaded by federal force, the houses of their citizens searched, the sanctuary of their homes invaded, their streets and public places made the scene of tumultuous and armed violence, and state sovereignty succumb-paralyzed and aghast-before the process of an officer unknown to the constitution and irresponsible to its sanctions. At least such shall not become the degradation of Wisconsin, without meeting as stern remonstrance and resistance as I may be able to interpose, so long as her people impose on me the duty of guarding their rights and liberties, and maintaining the dignity and sovereignty of their state.”
Who cares today?