Coleman v. Miller

PETITIONER: Rolla W. Coleman et al.
RESPONDENT: Clarence W. Miller et al.

DECIDED BY: Hughes Court (1939)

ARGUED: Oct 10, 1938 / Apr 17, 1939 / Apr 18, 1939
DECIDED: Jun 05, 1939

Facts of the case

In June 1924 the Child Labor Amendment passed both houses of Congress. Under Article V of the Constitution, three-fourths of state legislatures must ratify an amendment passed by Congress before it becomes part of the Constitution. Initially, the Kansas state legislature rejected the amendment, but in January 1937 it was reintroduced before the state senate. Of forty state senators, twenty voted for the amendment and twenty against it. Under Kansas law this left the deciding vote to the lieutenant governor in his capacity as presiding officer of the senate, who voted in favor of passage. After subsequent passage by the Kansas state house, Rolla W. Coleman, a state senator and twenty-three other members of the Kansas legislature filed suit against Clarence W. Miller, the secretary of the state senate challenging the constitutionality of Kansas' ratification process. Further, they claimed that by 1937, thirteen years after Congress initially proposed it, the amendment had "lost vitality" and could no longer be considered.


Did the participation of the lieutenant governor, the prior rejection by the Kansas state legislature, or the length of time between the proposal and ratification of the Child Labor Amendment conflict with the ratification process laid out by Article V of the U.S. Constitution?