Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett, a staunch segregationist, refuses to allow James Meredith to desegregate the University of Mississippi by enrolling at the school. Barnett cites the 10th Amendment as he bars the door. Despite Barnett's attempts to stop him and subsequent riots on the campus, Meredith enrolls and graduates from Ole Miss, becoming a landmark figure in the Civil Rights era.
Governor Barnett Cites Tenth Amendment in Barring James Meredith from Ole Miss
PAUL CUNNINGHAM, reporting:
Governor Ross Barnett again refused to permit Negro student James Meredith to enroll at the University of Mississippi. The Governor, by using interposition, by personally placing himself between Justice Department officials and the Negro student Meredith and the Board of Trustee’s room. This was the scene.
Governor ROSS BARNETT: Legislators who make our laws, I have a high regard for the people who have promulgated this great government of ours. I have a high regard for the provisions of the constitution of Mississippi and the Constitution of the United States. I believe in the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which in substance says that all the powers not expressly granted by the Constitution to the Federal government belong to the states respectively, or to the people when not prohibited by the Constitution. For 100 years, our Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution. In substance, our United States Supreme Court for many, many years, for approximately 100 years, ah, held positively and unmistakably, that when the Tenth Amendment provides that all of the powers not expressly granted, and I take it that it means not written in the Constitution, giving to the Federal government powers, certain powers, then they belong to the states respectively, or to the people. And especially this is true when not prohibited by the Constitution to the states. Gentlemen, my conscience is clear. I am abiding by the Constitution of the United States, and the constitution of Mississippi, and the laws of the state of Mississippi. Thank you.
REPORTER: Do you refuse to permit Meredith through the door?
BARNETT: Yes, sir.
REPORTER: Thank you.
BARNETT: I do that politely.
REPORTER: We leave politely.
CUNNINGHAM: Here at Jackson, Mississippi, Governor Barnett refusing---interposing himself--refusing to allow Meredith to be registered by the Board of Trustees. Apparently, opening himself to a citation for contempt by the U.S Circuit. Court of Appeals in New Orleans. Now this is Paul Cunningham, NBC News, Jackson, Mississippi.
Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.