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Every Little Helps

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

On Texas in absentia


The professor weighs in on the Texas hubbub:
When the 14th Amendment was up for ratification in Tennessee, the same thing happened -- a bunch of legislators absented themselves to avoid a quorum. The Sergeant-at-Arms hired Pinkertons, chased them down (one was recovered after "a wild night-chase over mountains on mule-back"), and brought them to the Capitol. They were then marked "present" and locked in a closet until the voting was over. Thus, Tennessee became the first state of the old Confederacy to ratify the Fourteenth Amendment.

Seems to me this is just like a minor skipping school -- they're cutting out on their legally-mandated duty (they ran for office and got voted in; they're cutting out on their contract), so whoever's in charge has the right to use the power of the law to bring them in.

Then again, I know very little about law. I'll let my law-type readers educate me as to whether or not this is legally feasible (morals aside).

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