Indians can finally visit Boston legally.

Believe it or not, it’s been illegal for American Indians to step foot in the city of Boston for the last 330 years.

A law was passed by the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1675 forbidding Indians to set foot in the city of Boston. That law has been on the books to this very day.

The Massachusetts State Legislature finally repealed that law this past week, meaning that the Indians can now legally enter the city of Boston again without fear of being arrested as a law breaker.

Zev Steinhardt

Forgive my ignorance here, but didn’t Massachusetts draw up their constitution in 1780, and then enterered the union as a state in 1788? Why would laws from 1675 even matter?

The U.S. constitution does not have all the federal laws on it. I think the laws are written somewhere else and all of them are not renewed with the constitution.

“Ms. beckwall, where were you on June 30, 1980?”
“To the best of my recollection, I was visiting Boston.”
“Is it true that you are one-thirtysecond Sioux Indian?”
“Yes, sir.”
“Stay where you are, we’re coming to take you in for further questioning.”

(bw jumps on bicycle - still no car, see numerous agonizingly pathetic posts re: car accident - and rides to nearest safe house, where she dons a particularly fetching alias outfit, just like on TV, and disappears forever into society)

Seriously, there are some messed up laws out there. Score one for the Indians!

Those Red Sox. Win a world series and now they think they’re ready to take on Cleveland.

Why isn’t there some periodic review of the laws? The way the current system works, the legislatures just keep piling laws on…and the obscure ones sink to the bottom. Back in the 1970’s then-Gov. Mike Dukakis made hsitory by repealing a 1650 law against witchcraft…big accomplishment!
Oh well, argiung obscure points of law keeps lawyers and judges busy.

I would be happier if my legislators would find laws to repeal rather than make new ones.

I think it’s a Common Law vs. Code (aka Civil) Law thing, ralph – when you got a whole bunch of assorted statutes at national/state/county/town level about every little thing with varying degrees of overall systematic order, and “usual and customary” practices and judicial decisions at multiple levels of sub-government essentially changing how you do things without actually going into the book and explicitly amending or repealing the old way, you get these kinds of things. Just to bring it home from the historically absurd to the immediate, there ARE jurisdictions (state, county, city) in the USA that have not lifted a finger to remove the language that outlaws abortion and consensual “sodomy” from their books, and some not even the language referent to segregated schools, even though these have all been found to be unconstitutional laws. Why not? Well, because since they’re unconstitutional, they cannot be enforced, but actually repealing them takes time and effort – a law can only be repealed by another law (either by explicit repeal, i.e. “Act #25 of 1951 is hereby repealed”; or tacit repeal, when you pass Act #12 of 2005 that covers the same thing and add “any law or part of law or regulation contrary to this Act shall be considered repealed”).

Never mind the US Constitution, or the MA Constitution – fundamentaly speaking, any polity that adopts a new Political Constitution will normally have as part of that process the continuance in effect of all ordinary statutes not inherently incompatible with it, until such time as these be repealed, amended or superceded by later legislation under the new political order.
It just took 225 years for the new order in MA to get around to getting rid of the written anti-Indian statute for Boston – which anyway had been rendered unenforceable by Civil Rights legislation and jurisprudence long before.

I seem to recall Bricker mentioning in some thread or other that Virginia has a board of legislative commitee that does review state laws periodically, particularly in response to court decisions. I did a quick google and didn’t really turn up much of anything by way of determining if this practice is widespread among the several states, but my google fu may be weak on this topic.

As JRDelirious says, a state’s adoption of a constitution does not automatically invalidate the laws it already had.

There’s another recent and amusing example of this phenomenon. Last year, Virginia passed a short bill that “merely” repealed a handful of laws. One unforeseen side effect of the bill, realized only after it passed, was the resurrecting of a 17th Century labor law entitling workers to triple wages if their employer made them work on the Sabbath. When this consequence became known, the state government was thrown into a tizzy for weeks, and had to come back for an emergency session to pass a new law fixing the problem.

I would guess — though I don’t really know — that all 13 of the original U.S. states still have laws on the books from before their constitutions and statehood. Most of the laws are probably long since invalidated by subsequent laws and court decisions. But apparently this old legal cruft can rise up again and bite us in the ass if we’re not paying attention.

And that was a bad thing because … ?

For one, it imposed the Christian idea of the Sabbath on the labor law, which Jews and others would not be too happy about. In addition, it would have cost employers a metric assload of cash, probably causing them to close shop on Sunday or fire employees.

IIRC, Giles is originally from Australia. Many workers on hourly rates in Australia receive, by law, time and a half for all hours worked on Saturdays and double time for all hours worked on Sundays. There are also penalty rates for overtime, and for working late in the evenings. Or at least this is how it was last time i worked in the hospitality industry (waiter and bartender) in Sydney. That was a few years ago, before i moved to the US, and things may have changed since then.

Freakin’ soft-on-crime liberal.

Mr. Dukakis, what would YOUR reaction be if someone put a hex on your wife Kitty?

Mass laws have always reminded me of a mixture of the 17th century and the near future. We try, really. You can now get tattoos with having to go to Hampton Beach in NH. And practice witchcraft and buy liquor on Sundays. Woot.

When casting hexes is outlawed, only outlaws will cast hexes.

Just think of the implications if they’d enforced the statute right before the famous 1948 AL playoff game.

Officer Jones: “Mr. Veeck, Mr. Boudreau, Mr. Feller, Mr. Gordon, Mr. Doby, Mr. Paige, come with me please. You’re all under arrest.” :slight_smile: