Note and Comment

Power of the US Supreme Court to Enforce Judgments Against States – In the year 1460, when the perogatives of sovereignty or at least of the Crown were asserted in England much more vigorously than they are today, “the Counseill of the right high and mighty Prynce Richard Duc of York, brought into the Parliament Chambre a writyng conteignyng the clayme and title of the right, that the seid Duc pretended unto the Corones of Englond and of Fraunce, and Lordship of Trelond, and the same writyng delyvered to the Right Reverent Fader in God George Bishop of Excestre, Chaunceller of Englond, desiryng hym that the same writyng myght be opened to the Lordes Spirituelx and Temporelx assembled in this present Parlement, and that the seid Duc myght have brief and expedient answere thereof.” Whereupon the lords, apparently embarrassed by this extraordinary manifestation of confidence in them, declared “that the said writyng shuld be radde and herd, not to be answered without the Kyngs commaundement, for so moche as the mater is so high, and of soo grete wyght and poyse.’ Vhen four days later the petition was again urgently presented “therupon incontynent all the seid Lordes Spirituelx and Temporelx went to the Kyngs high presence, and therunto opened and declared the seid mater, by the mouth of his said Chaunceller of Englond.” The King was graciously pleased to command the lords that they should “serche for to fynde in asmuch as in them was, all such thyngs as myght be objecte and leyde ayenst the cleyme and title of the seid Duc.” And though the King’s command could scarcely be regarded as indicating a judicial inquiry, the lords in their extremity “sent for the Kyngs Justices into the Parlement Chambre, to have their avis and Counsell in this behalf, * * * * sadly to take avisament therin, and to serche and fynde all such objections as myght be leyde ayenst the same, in fortefying of the Kynges right.” Duke of York’s Claim to the Crown, 5 Rot. ParI., 375, I Wambaugh’s Cas. Const. Law, I.