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Coleman v. Miller

307 U.S. 433 (1939)

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Coleman v. Miller

United States Supreme Court

307 U.S. 433 (1939)

Facts

In 1924, the United States Congress proposed an amendment to the Constitution known as the Child Labor Amendment. The amendment was then sent to the state legislatures for ratification. In 1925, the legislature of Kansas rejected the proposed amendment and adopted a resolution stating such. In 1937, the proposed amendment was again put to a vote in the Kansas legislature. This time, Kansas’s state senate adopted a resolution ratifying the proposed amendment. Out of the 40 state senators, 20 voted in favor of and 20 voted against the resolution. The lieutenant governor of Kansas, presiding over the state senate, then casted a tie-breaking vote in favor of the resolution. A majority of the Kansas House of Representatives voted to adopt the resolution as well. The 20 state senators who voted against adopting the proposed amendment, as well as three state representatives (plaintiffs) filed a writ of mandamus to the Supreme Court of Kansas. The writ urged the court to restrain the Kansas legislature from signing the resolution and the secretary of Kansas from authenticating and delivering it to the governor of Kansas because the lieutenant governor was not part of the legislature. In addition, they argued that the proposed amendment had been previously rejected and thus had lost its vitality to be ratified. The Supreme Court of Kansas denied the writ of mandamus, finding that Article V does not prohibit the reproposal of a previously rejected amendment. The state senators and representatives filed a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hughes, C.J.)

Concurrence (Black, J.)

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