Interesting 1866 case
Thanks to a query from Don Kates, I found an issue of Case and Comment from the 1970s that cites a case of some historical interest.
In 1861, Tennessee's confederate government passed a bill that empowered the governor to designate persons in each county to round up all arms. Since it was a bill relating to a Department of Ordinance, I'd assume the purpose was to get arms for the military, although it might have been applied with more vigor to areas such as eastern TN, that weren't sympathetic to seccession. After the war's end, a fellow whose rifle was taken sued the person who took it, and won.
The state Supreme Court affirmed in Smith v. Ishenhour, 43 Tenn. 214 (1866). The court ruled that the statute had "utterly disregarded" the state constitution, which protected a right to keep and bears for the common defense. "This is the first attempt, in the history of the Anglo-Saxon race, of which we are apprised, to disarm the people by legislation." Accordingly, judgment for the plaintiff was affirmed.
So this means that since 1866, Tenneseeans have been protected against a 'Nawlins-type confiscation by judicial precedent?
Posted by: Rivrdog at August 21, 2006 09:42 AM