The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson
ĽOvert Obstruction of Congress

back to the Andrew Johnson Home Page


 
Editorial
Harper's Weekly, November 2, 1867, page 691

go to the previous article in this section
go to the next article in this section


"DISREGARDING" THE LAW
One of the most preposterous reports that has been lately sent from Washington is the assertion that the President proposes to disregard the Tenure of Office Bill, and treat it as a nullity until the Supreme Court decides whether it is constitutional. "Here’s richness" again; and the Copperhead Doctors shake their heads approvingly over the report, and exclaim, "Nothing could be more absurd than to dispute the right of the President to bring laws which he believes unconstitutional to a judicial test."

The President, as President, has nothing whatever to do with the constitutionality of laws after he has opposed them by his veto. His sole duty in regard to them after they are passed over his veto is to see that they are faithfully executed. Then, if any body feels himself to be aggrieved, he will bring an action in the Supreme Court. But if the President, having exhausted his veto, proposes to treat all laws which he does not approve as unconstitutional, and refuse to see to their execution until they are legitimated by the Supreme Court, nothing can be plainer than that every law passed by Congress must be sent into the Supreme Court room and approved before the President will take care that it is faithfully executed. Nothing could be more absurd than such a view of the duty of the Executive except all the rest of the President’s theories.

Of course, as the Copperhead Doctors truly remark, this appeal to determine the constitutionality of a law "is a right possessed by every citizen." But to say that nobody is bound to obey a law until some Court has decided it to be constitutional, is simply to declare chaos come again. The Tenure of Office Bill is a law—and not a very wise one; and the President has just as much right to disregard it as he has to nullify every other law upon the statute-book. He is a citizen of the United States like the rest of us; and if he disobeys the law he will inevitably suffer the penalty.

Articles Related to Overt Obstruction of Congress:
Congress
February 2, 1867, page 67
February 16, 1867, page 99
March 16, 1867, page 163


How Long?
June 29, 1867, page 402


Reconstruction and Obstruction
July 6, 1867, page 418


The Summer Session
July 6, 1867, page 418


The Fortieth Congress
July 17, 1867, page 467


Thanks to the District Commanders
July 27, 1867, page 467


Impeachment Postponed
July 27, 1867, page 467


A Desperate Man
August 13, 1867, page 546


The Secretary of War
August 24, 1867, page 530


Samson Agonistes at Washington (cartoon)
August 24, 1867, page 544


The Stanton Imbroglio (illustrated satire)
August 24, 1867, page 542


Secretary Grant
August 31, 1867, page 546


Southern Reconstruction
August 31, 1867, page 547


The Political Situation
September 7, 1867, page 562


General Thomas
September 7, 1867, page 563


Southern Reconstruction
September 7, 1867, page 563


The General and the President
September 14, 1867, page 578


General Sickles Also
September 14, 1867, page 579


Southern Reconstruction
September 21, 1867, page 595


The President’s Intentions
September 28, 1867, page 610


Impeachment
October 5, 1867, page 626


The Main Question
October 5, 1867, pages 626-627


Suspension during Impeachment
October 19, 1867, page 658


"Disregarding" The Law
November 2, 1867, page 691


Impeachment
December 14, 1867, page 786


General Grant’s Testimony
December 14, 1867, page 786


The President’s Message
December 14, 1867, page 787


General Grant’s Letter
January 1, 1868, page 2


Secretary Stanton’s Restoration
January 25, 1868, page 51


Reconstruction Measures
January 25, 1868, page 51


The President, Mr. Stanton and General Grant
February 1, 1868, page 66


Romeo (Seward) to Mercutio (Johnson) (cartoon)
February 1, 1868, page 76


The War Office
February 1, 1868, page 77


Secretary’s Room in the War Department (illus)
February 1, 1868, page 77


The New Reconstruction Bill
February 8, 1868, page 83

 

Website design © 1998-2005 HarpWeek, LLC
All Content © 1998-2005 HarpWeek, LLC
Please submit questions to webmaster@harpweek.com