Limitations of Supreme Court Powers 1863...
"...Hence even the Supreme Court of the United States has a limited jurisdictfon over questions, touching the rights of States, which were not delegated to the Federal Government in the Constitution. If the Supreme Court decides an act to be constitutional or unconstitutional that decision binds Congress and the Federal Government, but it does not necessarily bind the States; for the question is still open as to whethet it is a matter within the jurisdiction of the U. S. Court as limited by the Constitution. In order that the U. S. Courts should have jurisdiction in relation to a particular subject, it must either be conferred by the Constitution in express terms, or it niust be necessary to the exercise of some authority expressly delegated in the Constitution. For instance, if Congress passes an act regulating commerce, such as a tariff and the Supreme Court of the United States pronounces it constitutional, the States are clearly bound by the decision, because the subject matter is delegated to the Federal Government by the Constitution. But if Congress should pass an act to abolish all laws for the collection of debts, or for the safe possession of property, in the States, and if the U. S. Court should pronounce such an act constitutional, still the States would not be bound by it, and it would be competent for the State courts to set it aside; because the States never delegated the subject matter to the Federal Government. This is the principle—the Federal Government is sovereign over all matters that were delegated to it by the States, and the States are sovereign over all matters which they did not delegate to the General Government in the constitution. The powers of Congress and the Supreme Court being limited by the constitution, no one can be absurd enough to imagine that those powers can be extended by the mere construction of the court itself. The constitution is the tribunal to which all questions, State and Federal, must be brought If the subject matter has not been delegated to Congress and the Federal courts, the jurisdiction remains with the States and the decisions of their courts are final in all such matters. Suppose the conscription bill lately passed by Congress, giving the President unlimited control over the militia of the States, should be pronounced constitutional by the Federal
courts, the State courts would not be bound by such a decision, because in the constitution the right of training and officering the militia, even when called into service of the United States, is expressly reserved to the States." 'How To Treat Unconstitutional Acts Of Congress', January 1863, Gov. H. Seymour, New York.
We need to have more of this in our history classes.