Coleman v Miller (307 U.S. 433) 1939

"The Constitution grants Congress exclusive power to control submission of constitutional amendments. ..."

"The Court here treats the amending process of the Constitution in some respects as a subject to judicial construction, in others as subject to the final authority of Congress. There is no disapproval of the conclusion arrived at in Dillon v. Glass, that the Constitution impliedly requires that a properly submitted amendment must die unless ratified with a 'reasonable time.' Nor does the Court now disapprove of its prior assumption of power to make such a pronouncement. And it is not made clear that only Congress has constitutional power to determine if there is any such implication in Article V of the Constitution. On the other hand, the Court's opinion declares that Congress has the exclusive power to decide the 'political questions' of whether a State whose legislature has once acted upon a proposed amendment may subsequently reverse its position, and whether, in the circumstances of such a case as this, an amendment is dead because an 'unreasonable' time has elapsed. Such division between the political and judicial branches of the government is made by Article V which grants power over the amending of the Constitution to Congress alone. Undivided control of that process has been given by the Article exclusively and completely to Congress. The process itself is 'political' in its entirety, from submission until an amendment becomes part of the Constitution, and is not subject to judicial guidance, control or inference at any point.

Since Congress has sole and complete control over the amending process, subject to no judicial review, the views of any court upon this process cannot be binding upon Congress, and insofar as Dillon v. Glass, supra, attempts judicially to impose a limitation upon the right of Congress to determine final adoption of an amendment, its should be disapproved." ...

Congress, possessing exclusive power over the amending process, cannot be bound by and is under no duty to accept the pronouncements upon that exclusive power by this Court... Neither State nor federal court can review that power. Therefore, any judicial expression amounting to more than mere acknowledgment of exclusive Congressional power over the political process of amendment is a mere admonition to the Congress in the nature of an advisory opinion, given wholly without constitutional authority."

Coleman and the State Legislatures

"The question [of ratification] did arise in connection with the adoption of the Fourteenth amendment. The legislatures of Georgia, North Caroline and South Carolina had rejected the amendment in November and December, 1866. New governments were erected in those States (and in others) under the direction of Congress. The new legislatures ratified the amendment... Ohio and New Jersey first ratified and then passed resolution withdrawing their consent. As there were then thirty-seven States, twenty-eight were needed to constituted the requisite three-fourths. On July 9, 1868, the Congress adopted a resolution requesting the Secretary of State to communicate 'a list of Sates of the Union whose legislatures have ratified the fourteenth article of amendment', and in Secretary Seward's report attention was called to the action of Ohio and New Jersey. On July 20th Secretary Seward issued a proclamation reciting the ratification by twenty-eight States, including North Caroline, South Carolina, Ohio and New Jersey, and stating that it appeared that Ohio and New Jersey had since passed resolutions withdrawing their consent and that 'it is deemed a matter of doubt and uncertainty whether such resolutions are not irregular, invalid and therefore ineffectual'. The Secretary certified that if the ratifying resolutions of Ohio and New Jersey were still in full force and effect, notwithstanding the attempted withdrawal, the amendment had become a part of the Constitution. On the following day the Congress adopted a concurrent resolution which, reciting that three-fourths of the States having ratified )the list including North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio and New Jersey), declared the Fourteenth Amendment to be a part of the Constitution and that it should be duly promulgated as such by the Secretary of State. Accordingly, Secretary Seward, on July 28th, issued his proclamation embracing the States mentioned in the congressional resolution.

Thus the political departments of the Government dealt with the effect both of previous rejection and of attempted withdrawal and determined that both were ineffectual in the presence of an actual ratification. While there were special circumstances [the removal of the state legislatures and replacement of them by order of Congress], because of the action of the Congress in relation to the governments of the rejecting States (North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia), these circumstances were not recited in proclaiming ratification...

We think that in accordance with this historic precedent the question of the efficacy of ratifications by state legislatures, in the light of previous rejection or attempted withdrawal, should be regarded as a political question pertaining to the political departments, with the ultimate authority in the Congress in the exercise of its control over the promulgation of the adoption of the amendment."

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