"The courts are not bound by mere forms, nor are they to be misled by mere pretences. They are at liberty — indeed, are under a solemn duty — to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If therefore, a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is a palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution."
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Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 661.
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Reader comments about this quote:
Hear, hear! However, the legal system has been monopolized by the American Bar Association (a private association) which has helped to re-write and re-interpret legislation in direct contradiction of Constitutional limits. Lawyers can lose their licenses if they challenge this hierarchy. Jurors are not told that they may judge the facts AND the law, that is to say, may choose not to convict someone of breaking a bad law. It is one of the final defenses of the People against an oppressive government.
 -- E Archer, NYC     
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     -- Ronw13, OR      
    Jury nullification, a truly wonderful thing.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    Spot on!
     -- robert, somewhere inthe USA     
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    Exactly, and Absolutely!
     -- Mary - MI     
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    Weak argument. The courts are a democracy, that's why the SC's have odd numbers on the bench. The Anti Federalists knew that rights would end by judges by the judicial branch.
     -- Don, Reno     
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