George Q. Cannon’s review of Reynolds v. U.S.

I occasionally like to point out interesting law-related posts that I stumble across in the Bloggernacle (what a terrible name, that). William & Mary law prof Nate Oman of Times & Seasons has a brief post up about a publication George Q. Cannon wrote with the lengthy title of A Review of the Decision of the Supreme Court in the Case of Geo. Reynolds v. the United States. Cannon’s Review discusses the 1879 Supreme Court case that held that the practice of plural marriage was not protected by the Free Exercise Clause. I understand that this case is still carried in many constitutional law texts because it was the first Supreme Court decision to tackle the issue head-on, but I don’t remember reading it in law school. I’ve been perusing Cannon’s Review this afternoon and I think it’s fairly accessible and interesting for a legal text of that time period.

Oman notes that Cannon may have had help drafting the Review, but that “the pamphlet shows a surprising familiarity with American constitutional history, theoretical jurisprudence, and criminal law.” I don’t think the Review is still in publication anywhere, but thanks to the bounties of the public domain and Google’s Book Search project, you can read it online or download a PDF.

2 thoughts on “George Q. Cannon’s review of Reynolds v. U.S.”

  1. The 2000 page tome assigned for my current ConLaw class has Reynolds v. U.S., but it’s the only case in that part of the book that the teacher skipped. I read it anyway just a couple days ago.

  2. Now that you mention it, Reynolds might have been in my text as a squibbed case, but I’m not sure. I’ll have to dust it off and take a peek.

Comments are closed.