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The unprecedented case resulted in an unprecedented decision. Marshall stated, in the majority opinion, that:

the acts of Georgia are repugnant to the Constitution, laws and treaties of the United States…they are in direct hostility with treaties, repeated in a succession of years, which mark out the boundary that separates the Cherokee country from Georgia; guaranty to them all the land within their boundary; solemnly pledge the faith of the United States to restrain their citizens from trespassing on it; and recognize the pre-existing power of the nation to govern itself. They are in equal hostility with the acts of Congress for regulating this intercourse…55

The Supreme Court declared that states have no rights that can intrude upon Indian lands. This decision eviscerated the legal right of Georgia to remove the Cherokee from their lands under the Compact of 1802. The Cherokee had won.

The decision was discarded by both the Jackson administration and the State of Georgia. Jackson, upon hearing the verdict, uttered the infamous phrase, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it."56 Worcester remained in jail for another year, and the Cherokee remained in Georgia for another six.

The Treaty of New Echota

In the fall of 1835, John Ross left Washington after another unsuccessful attempt to come to an agreement with the Government over the Georgia Compact. On his return to his Tennessee home, where he moved to escape arrest in Georgia, he was arrested without charge and imprisoned. A few days before, the office plant of the Cherokee Phoenix was confiscated by the Georgia Guard. "Thus in their greatest need the Cherokee were deprived of the help and counsel of their teachers, their national press, and their chief."57

Scarcely a month later, at the December conference of the Cherokee in New Echota, treaty terms were drawn up by John Schermerhorn, US Commissioner, acting on behalf of the United States Government. There would be no court battle over the jurisdiction of states' rights versus the rights of the federal government. Although the Cherokee population had been

 


55. Ibid.
56. Van Every, 147. From Van Every's footnote: "There had long been personal ill feeling between Jackson and Marshall. In 1828 Marshall had taken the unprecedented step, while continuing to hold his presumably nonpolitical post on the court, of campaigning against Jackson." This is another story.
56. Mooney, 117.
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