Taylor v. Beckham

CourtCourt of Appeals of Kentucky
Writing for the CourtHOBSON, J. BURNAM, J. GUFFY, J.
Citation56 S.W. 177,108 Ky. 278
PartiesTAYLOR et al. v. BECKHAM et al. [1]
Decision Date06 April 1900

56 S.W. 177

108 Ky. 278

TAYLOR et al.
v.
BECKHAM et al. [1]

Court of Appeals of Kentucky.

April 6, 1900


Appeal from circuit court, Jefferson county, common pleas division.

"To be officially reported."

Action by William S. Taylor against J. C. W. Beckham, L. H. Carter, and John B. Castleman to enjoin defendant Beckham from attempting to act as governor of Kentucky, and to enjoin defendant Castleman from attempting to act as adjutant general of Kentucky, and to enjoin each of the defendants from interfering with plaintiff in the performance of his duties as governor of Kentucky. Also action by John Marshall against J. C. W. Beckham and L. H. Carter to enjoin defendant Beckham from attempting to act as lieutenant governor of Kentucky, and to enjoin defendant Carter from attempting to preside over the senate of Kentucky. Also action by J. C. W. Beckham against William S. Taylor and John Marshall praying that defendant Taylor be adjudged to have usurped the office of governor, and that plaintiff be adjudged entitled to said office, and that defendant Marshall be adjudged to have usurped the office of lieutenant governor, and that plaintiff be adjudged the lawful incumbent of said office. Actions consolidated. Judgment declaring J. C. W. Beckham to be entitled to the office of governor and L. H. Carter to be entitled to the office of lieutenant governor, and adjudging that William S. Taylor has usurped the office of governor, and that John Marshall has usurped the office of lieutenant governor, and William S. Taylor and John Marshall appeal. Affirmed.

Helm, Bruce & Helm, W. O. Bradley, W. H. Yost, D. W. Fairleigh, A. E. Willson, T. L. Edelen, W. H. Sweeney, and Breckinridge & Shelby, for appellants.

Lewis McQuown, W. S. Pryor, Zach & Phelps, John K. Hendrick, Jas. A. Scott, and Kohn, Baird & Spindle, for appellees.

HOBSON, J.

At the November election, 1899, appellant W. S. Taylor and William Goebel were opposing candidates for governor [56 S.W. 178] of Kentucky. Appellant John Marshall and appellee J. C. W. Beckham were opposing candidates for lieutenant governor. On the face of the returns, Taylor received a majority of 2,383 over Goebel, and Marshall a somewhat larger majority over Beckham. The state canvassing board, on the face of the returns, issued certificates of election to Taylor and Marshall. Goebel and Beckham then gave notice of contest, and the matter was brought before the general assembly, which, under the constitution, is the tribunal to determine contests for these offices; section 90 providing as follows: "Contested elections for governor and lieutenant governor shall be determined by both houses of the general assembly according to such regulations as may be established by law." The statute passed pursuant to this provision of the constitution regulating the determination of such contests is found in section 1596a, subsec. 8, Ky. St., and provides that on the third day after the organization of the general assembly a board shall be chosen by lot, and have power to send for persons and papers. Its decision shall be reported to the two houses, and the general assembly shall then determine the contests. The general assembly convened on January 2, 1900, and on the third day after its organization, as shown by the journals of the two houses, a board of contest was appointed pursuant to the statute. The journals also show that on February 2, 1900, the board in each of these contests reported to the two houses that they had heard all the evidence offered by the contestants and contestees, and that William Goebel had received the highest number of legal votes cast for governor; that J. C. W. Beckham had received the highest number of legal votes cast for lieutenant governor, and that they were duly elected, and entitled to said offices. The journals further show that on the same day both houses, with a quorum present, approved and adopted separately and in joint session the reports of the contest board, and declared that William Goebel and appellee J. C. W. Beckham were duly elected governor and lieutenant governor at the election referred to. Goebel and Beckham were on that day sworn in accordingly. On January 30th William Goebel was shot by an assassin, receiving a wound from which he afterwards died on February 3d. On January 31st appellant Taylor, as governor, issued a proclamation declaring that a state of insurrection existed at Frankfort, Ky. adjourning the general assembly to February 6th, and ordering it to then assemble at the town of London, in Laurel county. The sessions of the general assembly on February 2d were not held at the state house for the reason that it was held by a military force of appellant Taylor that would not allow the assembly to meet there, and for this reason they met on that day at the Capital Hotel, in the city of Frankfort. On February 19th the legislature met again at the state house, and the senate on that day adopted the following resolution: "Whereas, on the 31st day of January, 1900, the acting governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky, by the use of armed force, dispersed the general assembly, and has until recently prevented the senate and house from assembling at their regular rooms and places of meeting; and whereas, the general assembly, and each house thereof, after public notice, met in joint and separate sessions in the city of Frankfort, a full quorum of such bodies being present, and adopted the majority reports and resolutions of the boards of contests for governor and lieutenant governor of the commonwealth of Kentucky, unseating the contestees, W. S. Taylor and John Marshall, as governor and lieutenant governor, and seating the contestants, William Goebel and J. C. W. Beckham, as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, all of which proceedings, reports, and resolutions are set out in the journals of the two houses of the general assembly; and whereas, this joint assembly is now enabled to meet in its regular place of meeting, and, whilst it adheres to the belief beyond doubt that the action of the general assembly heretofore taken in reference to said contests is valid, final, and conclusive, to remove any doubt that may exist in the minds of any of the people of the commonwealth: Now, be it resolved, by the general assembly of the commonwealth of Kentucky in joint session assembled, to the end that all doubt may be removed, if any exists, as to the validity and regularity of the action and proceedings at the times and places shown by the journals of the two houses other than its regular rooms, provided by law, that all the acts, proceedings, and resolutions of the senate and house and of the joint assembly of the two houses upon or touching the report of the majority of the boards of contest for the offices of governor and lieutenant governor, unseating the contestees, and seating William Goebel and J. C. W. Beckham, and declaring them to have been elected governor and lieutenant governor, respectively, on the 7th day of November, 1899, is hereby re-enacted, readopted, reaffirmed, and ratified at this, the regular place of meeting provided by law, at the seat of government in Frankfort, Ky." This resolution, though not filed with the exhibits in these cases, is copied in the petition, and is admitted by the answer to have been entered on the senate journal. The same resolution was adopted by the house, and by both houses in joint session, on February 20th.

Appellants insist that all these proceedings were void, and did not affect in any way their rights to the offices of governor and lieutenant governor. A great many matters have been presented in the argument, but only such as seem decisive can be considered without unduly extending this opinion. It is insisted: (1) That the proceedings of the legislature on February 2d are void, because the legislature had then been adjourned by the governor until February 6th, and no legal [56 S.W. 179] session could be held in the meantime. (2) That, Goebel having died on February 3d, the contest for the office of governor thereby abated, and the action of the legislature on February 19th and 20th was, therefore, void. (3) It is averred that the legislature took no action on February 2d, and that the journals of these meetings were fraudulently made by the clerk, and pursuant to a conspiracy between certain members of the assembly and the contestants. (4) It is averred that the general assembly acted without evidence, and arbitrarily. These contentions will be considered in the order stated.

1. As to the governor's power to adjourn the legislature. If the governor had the power to adjourn the legislature from January 31st to February 6th, of course no valid action could be taken by it in the interim. It is therefore necessary to determine whether he had such power. The only authority relied on to sustain his action is section 36 of the constitution, which is as follows: "The first general assembly, the members of which shall be elected under this constitution, shall meet on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in January, 1894, and thereafter the general assembly shall meet on the same day every second year, and its sessions shall be held at the seat of government, except in case of war, insurrection or pestilence, when it may, by proclamation of the governor, assemble, for the time being, elsewhere." At first blush it must strike any one that the thing in the mind of the framers of this section was not an adjournment of the general assembly after it had assembled, but a provision for a place of assembling. Until an assembly is organized, it cannot control its movements; and in case of an insurrection or pestilence preventing it from meeting at the capital it was necessary for some one to have power to name another place at which it might assemble for the time being, and organize. This seems, on its face, to be all the section was intended to provide for, and...

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29 practice notes
  • Pratt v. Breckinridge
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • November 20, 1901
    ...by mandamus compel either of the boards to act when it refuses to do so without any good reason." When the case of Taylor v. Beckham (Ky.) 56 S.W. 177, was before the court, it was thought that Batman v. Megowan had an important bearing upon the question involved as to the conclusiveness of......
  • Fletcher v. Graham, No. 2005-SC-1009-MR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • May 18, 2006
    ...Taylor retained possession of the executive building, archives, and records, and continued to act as governor. Taylor v. Beckham, 108 Ky. 278, 56 S.W. 177, 177-78 (1900). Ultimately, our predecessor court held that the legislative determination that Goebel and Beckham had won the election w......
  • Coyle v. Smith, Case Number: 2225
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • February 9, 1911
    ...Session, 9 Colo. 642, 21 P. 477; People v. Hatch, 33 Ill. 9; Farrelly v. Cole, 60 Kan. 356, 56 P. 492, 44 L. R. A. 464; Taylor v. Beckham, 108 Ky. 278, 56 S.W. 177, 49 L. R. A. 258, 94 Am. St. Rep. 357; People v. Rice, 65 Hun 236, 20 N.Y.S. 293; People v. Parker, 3 Neb. 409, 19 Am. Rep. 634......
  • State ex rel. Donnell v. Osborn, No. 37524.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 19, 1941
    ...session of the General Assembly. Sec. 10361, R.S. 1929; House Journal, 1857, p. 68; Sec. 25, Art. V, Mo. Const. 1875; Taylor v. Beckham, 56 S.W. 177, 108 Ky. 278; Taylor v. Beckham, 178 U.S. 548, 44 L. Ed. 1187; State ex rel. v. Baxter, 28 Ark. 135. (a) Rules of construction in ordinary sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
29 cases
  • Pratt v. Breckinridge
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Kentucky
    • November 20, 1901
    ...by mandamus compel either of the boards to act when it refuses to do so without any good reason." When the case of Taylor v. Beckham (Ky.) 56 S.W. 177, was before the court, it was thought that Batman v. Megowan had an important bearing upon the question involved as to the conclusiveness of......
  • Fletcher v. Graham, No. 2005-SC-1009-MR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (Kentucky)
    • May 18, 2006
    ...Taylor retained possession of the executive building, archives, and records, and continued to act as governor. Taylor v. Beckham, 108 Ky. 278, 56 S.W. 177, 177-78 (1900). Ultimately, our predecessor court held that the legislative determination that Goebel and Beckham had won the election w......
  • Coyle v. Smith, Case Number: 2225
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • February 9, 1911
    ...Session, 9 Colo. 642, 21 P. 477; People v. Hatch, 33 Ill. 9; Farrelly v. Cole, 60 Kan. 356, 56 P. 492, 44 L. R. A. 464; Taylor v. Beckham, 108 Ky. 278, 56 S.W. 177, 49 L. R. A. 258, 94 Am. St. Rep. 357; People v. Rice, 65 Hun 236, 20 N.Y.S. 293; People v. Parker, 3 Neb. 409, 19 Am. Rep. 634......
  • State ex rel. Donnell v. Osborn, No. 37524.
    • United States
    • Missouri Supreme Court
    • February 19, 1941
    ...session of the General Assembly. Sec. 10361, R.S. 1929; House Journal, 1857, p. 68; Sec. 25, Art. V, Mo. Const. 1875; Taylor v. Beckham, 56 S.W. 177, 108 Ky. 278; Taylor v. Beckham, 178 U.S. 548, 44 L. Ed. 1187; State ex rel. v. Baxter, 28 Ark. 135. (a) Rules of construction in ordinary sta......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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