"Every prudent and cautious judge ... will remember, that his duty and his business is, not to make the law, but to interpret and apply it."
James Wilson
(1742-1798) Member of Continental Congress, signed Declaration of Independence; U.S. Supreme Court Justice and delegate from Pennsylvania
Lectures on Law, 1791
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Reader comments about this quote:
 -- Bob, Burlington, VT     
  • 3
    And worst of all, private interpretation, lends itself to more unjust law ! The Supreme Court, despotic in nature ! We see today how the panel of nine, though not all, have lost respect by the common, moral, responsible citizen !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
  • 3
    Mischief is a foot, when private interpretation inters in. As also with the Rock upon which the Republic rest. The three key doctrines of Liberty, are not for private interpretation. That is why doctrine is kept out of the pulpit with most Christian denominations, dumbing down the congregations for power and material gain. Money !
     -- Ronw13, Yachats Or     
  • 1
    As to every judges duty and business not to make law, the concept is absolute under any and all understandings of law. The originating jurisprudence of the States united was the laws of nature and of nature's God. With knowing such and understanding that man's tools (codes, ordinances, regulations, rules (rulings), statutes, etc.) can only be used to define the natural law that already existed, it directly follows that corporeal man can NOT make law. Even under a scenario of legal positivism, where man as a god can create law; Wilson's here statement makes it clear - even under legal positivism, judges can not make law. The judge's (in most scenarios, the jurors) job description is to interpret law and fact. The question here comes, 'how does a "judge" apply law'? (He can't, it is a lawful impossibility - only by anti-lawful usurpation can the perception even exist.) Using a most broad understanding of justice, a judge may act as a tool in applying justice but, not the law. The current position 'judge' in the occupying statist theocracy infesting this land is a procedural position in how law (unlawful rules of men) is created, enforced and socially engineered / perceived.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
  • 3
     -- jim k, Austin      
    I only wish the jury could exercise its power more often than having 5 out of 9 partisan judges setting legal precedents that redefine the duties and obligations of citizens to their government. I would say:

    "Every prudent and cautious juror will remember, that his duty and his business is to judge the law as well as the facts."
     -- E Archer, NYC     
  • 3
     -- Ronw13, OR      
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