"Our whole political system rests on the distinction between constitutional and other laws. The former are the solemn principles laid down by the people in its ultimate sovereignty; the latter are regulations made by its representatives within the limits of their authority, and the courts can hold unauthorized and void any act which exceeds those limits. The courts can do this because they are maintaining against the legislature the fundamental principles which the people themselves have determined to support, and they can do it only so long as the people feel that the constitution is something more sacred and enduring than ordinary laws, something that derives its force from a higher authority."
Walter F. Dodd
(1880-1960) Author, professor of political science
The Revision and Amendment of State Constitutions, P. 253 (1910).
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Reader comments about this quote:
By Laws or Municipal Laws are generally in conflict with Constitutional Law. Diminishing rights through minor usurpations seems to be the pattern.
 -- J Carlton, Calgary     
    I believe that the Constitution is second only to the Bible. When I was a boy in the early sixties even the public schools taught that. At least in Missouri.
     -- Clyde J., Apache Junction     
     -- jim k, Austin, Tx      
    And then sometimes the Supreme Court will come up with some Way Out rulings you can't even find in the constitution.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
    The blueprint, the Constitution, was brilliant. It allowed this country to flourish, grow and be generous. As those we elect become greedy for power and corruption takes first place in DC removing power from the people the country falters...and will ultimately fail. Our congress has been castrated and the people neutered. It appears all fight has left and the Founders lost the fight for a legacy of liberty. Unless...we get Ron Paul in office...he is the only one who can see the fix we are in...any one else and we proceed down this road to collectivism.
     -- Abby     
    There are 3 philosophies of law. They are Natural Law, Legal Positivism, and Legal Realism. Natural Law was to be the beginning, middle, end, the whole that is law. The Constitution is a Common Law construct for Natural Law's administrative structuring. At Natural Law, only God can make law (or that which naturally exists, man or no man) At Natural Law, man is to discover the law and pass codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc., as tools, to define and harmonize with the law the already exists. Legal Positivism is where man acts as though he has the ability to make law. Most of the quote above is couched in Legal Positivism, coated with a flavor of democracy. Codes, statutes, etc., at Legal Positivism are treated as though they are the law and legislators are nick named law makers. Legal Realism is defining man's actions by what is acceptable or, can be got away with (legal activism for example). Dodd's statement is part of the dogma that has destroyed freedom, liberty, inalienable rights, justice, what was to be protected by the Constitution, truth and the knowledge thereof.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
    I understand Mike's distinctions of law; however, I think Dodd is making a different point. The Constitutional 'law' he refers to is enacted by the sovereignty of the people -- he says this. The 'other laws' are but statutes -- rules and regulations, in legalese referred to as 'colorable law.' In the Constitution, 3 forms of jurisprudence were defined: common law, commercial law, and military law. Common law preceded the formation of the Constitution and was the based on the Natural Law as Mike has explained. Commercial law, also known as statutory law and colorable law, referred to commercial contracts and had no criminal penalties -- it was the enforcement of contracts as per the agreements made. In the commercial jurisdiction, statutes and regulations (that we call 'laws') could be instituted BUT did not apply to the common man acting in his own sovereign capacity. Military law is also known as admiralty/maritime law based upon the military code and the command of the 'admiral' -- the law of the sea, which means that the captain is the boss, and those that signed up for service on the ship must obey or face the judgement of the captain. The common law is known as the 'law of the land' and has its roots in ownership of land and property. Commercial law is 'corporate law' -- the law of corpses, so to speak, as corporations are not real living 'persons' but are 'straw men' without natural born rights and thus regulated by man-made laws, not natural law. What has happened is the merging of the common law and commercial law thus creating the legal positivism and legal realism we have instead of the protection of the common law. It is because we the people are not acting in our sovereign capacity and have essentially become wards of the state subject to the reams and reams of statutory law known as the Uniform Commercial Code as we are not actually 'owning' any property -- all was seized in the 30's and held as collateral for the bankruptcy of the USA. We do not use money, we use commercial paper (promissory notes, Federal Reserve Notes, etc.) and are thus subject to the perpetual commercial jurisdiction. That is socialist democracy for you -- not a republican form of government in which all are sovereigns.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
    Just an addendum, socialist democracy is the tool of the ruling class to indenture a nation to perpetual servitude to the arbitrary will of those that hold our debts. And since our rulers can create money out of thin air and tell us we have to pay it back with compounded interest, they have granted themselves unlimited power on the backs of the common people -- that is slavery, my friends, pure and simple.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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