488 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI Errors and Appeals. After the Reconstruction Act of 1867, a new Constitution drafted by a Republican convention was effectuated, and it changed Mississippi’s court structure. Courts Under the Constitution of 1868 In 1868, an integrated convention of eighty white and seventeen African American citizens drafted a new constitution. The Mississippi Constitution of 1868 placed austere limits on the rights of those who supported secession, and the voters rejected it. The following year, the provisions that restricted the rights of Confederate supporters were removed, and the people of the state subsequently approved the new constitution. The 1868 constitution provided that all judges above the county court level would be appointed. Indeed, it fell under the bailiwick of the governor to appoint the holders of many offices that had been elected under the previous constitution. The governor was to appoint all members of the Supreme Court, all circuit judges, all chancery court judges, all militia members, and even all county officials. By one count, the governor would appoint over 8,000 officials. The Supreme Court was to be filled by three appointed judges, one from each of the state’s three districts, and they were to serve nine-year terms. Although earlier drafts referred to the high court by its old title, the High Court of Errors and Appeals, by the time the convention closed the court received the name by which it is called today, the Supreme Court. The 1868 constitution required the Supreme Court to meet twice a year in the seat of government. Although early drafts would have required Supreme Court Justices to have been residents of Mississippi for two years, attorneys for five years, and residents of their district for six months, the final version required only for justices to have lived in the state for two years. The legislature enacted “An Act in Relation to the Supreme Court” on April 2, 1870. The act effectuated the new constitutional provisions for a state supreme court. The three districts maintained the old demarcations of northern, central, and southern. The act allowed for the appointment of a clerk of the Supreme Court and a court reporter who would be charged with reporting the decisions of the court. The first three judges were E.G. Peyton, H.F. Simrall, and Jonathan Tarbell. Peyton and Simrall were Mississippians who, before the war, opposed secession. After the war, both joined the Republican Party. In the case of Peyton, he arguably joined the party to attempt to soften the effect of those members known as Radical Republicans, who wished to punish those who had supported secession and the failed Confederacy. He served as the first chief justice. Simrall, a Kentucky native, would serve as chief justice beginning in 1876. Tarbell, a native of Massachusetts, had served as a general in the Union Army during the war. He moved from Massachusetts to Hillsboro, Mississippi, in 1866. As might be expected in post-war Mississippi, the appointment of Judge Tarbell caused much consternation among many Democrats, as evidenced in some editorials of the day and by his own account relating that he was hanged in effigy in front of the Hillsboro Courthouse. Tarbell proved himself to be a fair jurist, as indicated by his deciding a case, Lawson v. Jeffries, against his Republican allies. In that case, the Supreme Court considered a resolution passed by the 1868 constitutional convention allowing those convicted of crimes during the war years to request new trials. The Court, in an opinion authored by Tarbell, rejected the resolution as a usurpation of the power of the courts. In the six years following its formation, the new Supreme Court had to wrestle with questions posed by the end of slavery. It was undetermined whether slavery ended with the delivery of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, with the occupation of Mississippi by the United States Army, or when the Thirteenth Amendment was ratified in 1865. Although the Court went so far as to hold that the Emancipation Proclamation did not end slavery, it deftly avoided answering the question to any greater extent. The Court also held that laws passed by the state legislature during the war years would be upheld, as to do otherwise would invite confusion. The Supreme Court of 1870 to 1876 left behind it an interesting legacy. On one hand, as Reconstruction wound down and governments in the states that seceded from the Union began to return to Democratic control, the strong dislike many Democrats had for the Republican-controlled governments of Reconstruction showed itself. A later version of the Mississippi Supreme Court, in 1896, wrote that it would not consider any precedents of the Mississippi Supreme Court under Republican rule to be binding precedent. On the other hand, all three men appointed by the Republican Governor Alcorn—even the Massachusetts native Tarbell—appear to have enjoyed excellent reputations throughout their careers and lives. Mississippi’s only United States Supreme Court Justice, L.Q.C. Lamar, spoke well of Tarbell. In 1875, Democrats led by L.Q.C. Lamar and James Z. George began a push to retake control of the state government. They largely succeeded, and Democrats took control of the state legislature in the elections of that year. Following their victory, there were changes on the Court. Judge Peyton retired from the bench in 1876 due to failing health. He indeed died months after his retirement. Judge