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Gov. Barnett Invokes “Interposition” to Block Meredith Enrollment

Sept. 13, 1962 - Gov. Ross R. Barnett invoked the doctrine of “interposition” tonight in a move to block the enrollment of a Negro at the University of Mississippi. The university has been ordered by a Federal court to admit the Negro, James H. Meredith, next week. In a state-wide T.V. and radio address, Gov. Barnett declared that each state institution must enforce only laws enacted by the State Legislature. The Governor read a proclamation that, under a resolution adopted by the Mississippi State Legislature in 1956, he was “interposing” the sovereignty of the state between the Federal Government and the people of the state. The 64-year-old Governor also charged that every public official in the state should be willing to go to jail for the cause of segregation. “No school will be integrated in Mississippi while I am your Governor,” Mr. Barnett said. “I assure you that they will not be closed if this can possibly be avoided. But they will not be integrated.” The doctrine of interposition was last invoked in 1960 by Louisiana in Orleans Parish school board cases. In that case, the Court of Appeals of the Fifth Circuit dismissed the issue of interposition. It said: “The conclusion is clear that interposition is not a constitutional doctrine. If taken seriously, it is illegal defiance of constitutional authority.”


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