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Timothy Huebner, The Southern Judicial Tradition (1999)


Timothy Huebner, The Southern Judicial Tradition (1999)


In The Southern Judicial Tradition: State Judges and Sectional Distinctiveness, State Judges and Sectional Distinctiveness, 1790-1890, Timothy Huebner analyses six of the most influential Southern state judges of the nineteenth century judges. In looking at these six Southern judges, Huebner attempts to connect the relationship between the judges regional sectionalism and the growth of nationalism. Each of the selected judges represented both Southern regional differences such as geographic locations in the Lower and Upper South and also different "economic and educational backgrounds," which ultimately offers a diverse perspective in positing these Southern judges in relation to their regional jurisdiction compared to larger American legal system. Huebner identifies four general issues that each of the southern judges confronted, and ultimately their interpretations impacted the southern judicial tradition. The four issues Huebner identifies are: the definition of homicide and self-defense, the course of economic development, the nature of the federal Union, and the status of African Americans. In particular, the issues of the status of African Americans and the rights of slaves continually surfaced before these southern judges. Paternalism, a commitment to protect the public's interest, and the impact of national constitutional issues such as nullification acts by southern states such as South Carolina impacted the general patterns of the judges judicial interpretations. Finally, in an attempt to analyze these southern judges judicial lives as well as personal beliefs outside of the courtroom, Huebner utilizes a host of historical sources; these sources include published reports of nineteenth century state supreme court cases, the judges' personal letters and manuscripts as well as those from colleagues, as well as public sources such as newspaper articles, statutes, and legal treaties.


Huebner, Timothy J.


Huebner, Timothy J. The Southern Judicial Tradition: State Judges and Sectional Distinctivness, 1790-1890. Athens: The University of Georgia Press, 1999.





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During and after the Civil War, Ruffin's championed the southern constitutional position. Believing strongly that the Constitution sanctioned slaveholders' rights as property holders, Ruffin turned away from support for the Union after the failure of the 1861 piece conference and Lincoln's call for troops and advocated secession as an act of revolution against an oppressive federal government. After the war, Ruffin continued his for southern principles in his rejection of North Carolina's 1886 Reconstruction constitution, which he believed had been forced on the people of the state without their approval. Himself the owner of more than a hundred slaves, the interests of slaveholders and -- after the war-- former planters lay at the center of his constitutional thinking.


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Huebner, Timothy J., Timothy Huebner, The Southern Judicial Tradition (1999), Civil War Era NC, accessed July 14, 2024,