The Court established that the United States Constitution prevailed and no ‘right of secession’ from the Union existed. Therefore, the ordinance of secession enacted by an insurgent Texas state convention established specifically for that purpose was a constitutional nullity, irrespective the fact that it had been ratified by a majority of Texas voters in a special referendum. In addition, the Court held that legislative acts authorizing the disposition of the bonds in question were likewise a nullity and consequent sale of the bonds to original buyers, holders in due course, and bond sales agents was ultra vires and, therefore, likewise a nullity.
The gravaman of the case went considerably further than the prospectively improper disposition of state property. At issue was the constitutional condition of the state of Texas during the period of rebellion and in the aftermath of the collapse of that rebellion and the restoration of national peace. If it was actually the case that Texas had never left the Union, at least in the constitutional sense, then it might logically follow that arguments relating to the degree of ‘restoration’ to the Union were fictitious and, more to the point, and military rule imposed by the President and Congress to foster a program of Reconstruction in ostensibly refractory states were likewise constitutionally questionable.
Establishment of secessionist government in Texas: Unlike other rebellious states—those in which antebellum state governments remained formally intact, albeit shifted in their allegiance away from the United States and to a league organized under the rubric of the Confederate States of America (CSA)—secessionist government in Texas was organized not only without the consent of the existing government but also through the forcible ejection of some of its officers.
As briefly described supra, a State Convention, whose legitimacy had been belatedly established by an act of the state .legislature (January 22, 1861) ratifying the election of delegates to the said Convention, convened on February 1, adopted an Ordinance of Secession (providing for ultimate popular ratification through a referendum), and adjourned. .