[T]he best elements of the national and state bars are seriously and energetically working for practical reforms in legal procedure, in the manner of the selection of judges, and in the prevention of delays and against the miscarriage of justice, and this, too, by feasible and constitutional measures and by every constructive and really progressive method which can be devised; and that the fact that satisfactory remedies have not yet been attained, is not the fault of the bench or of the bar, whose leaders have for years been urging upon the people, through the legislatures, fully formulated and efficient remedial measures. The fault lies with the people themselves, whose direct representatives in the legislatures, national and state, refuse properly to consider and act upon proposed laws of authenticated and undeniable efficacy.
more Rome G. Brown quotes
Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.
more Edmund Burke quotes
We must never cease to proclaim in fearless tones the great principles of freedom and the rights of man which are the joint inheritance of the English-speaking world and which through Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights, the Habeas Corpus, Trial by Jury, and the English common law, find their most famous expression in the American Declaration of Independence.
more Winston Churchill quotes
I can find no warrant for such an appropriation in the Constitution, and I do not believe that the power and duty of the general government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering which is in no manner properly related to the public service or benefit. Federal aid in such cases encourages the expectation of paternal care on the part of the government and weakens the sturdiness of our national character, while it prevents the indulgence among our people of that kindly sentiment and conduct which strengthens the bonds of a common brotherhood.
more Grover Cleveland quotes
The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the "high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and 'is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power.
more Cockrum v. State quotes
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
more U.S. Constitution quotes
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.— That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.— Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world...
more Declaration of Independence quotes
Hamilton's whole monetary policy is based on unconstitutional grounds and unsound reasoning, and fraudulent statements. His policies were fought through the whole public career of Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Randolph and many another truly great lovers of Republican Government. His policies have proved to be more destructive of our independent and democratic form of government than the old subjugation of the Colonies by Great Britain. The deliberations in Congress over Hamilton's Bank Bill, and the opinions of members of The Cabinet show the intensity of feeling between the private money interests and those supporting the Constitution. History records that the “money changers” have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance.
more Olive Cushing Dwinell quotes
A judicial activist is a judge who interprets the Constitution to mean what it would have said if he, instead of the Founding Fathers, had written it.
more Senator Sam Ervin quotes
Government…may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another… The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality…
more Abe Fortas quotes
The framers of the constitution employed words in their natural sense; and, where they are plain and clear, resort to collateral aids to interpretation is unnecessary, and cannot be indulged in to narrow or enlarge the text; but where there is ambiguity or doubt, or where two views may well be entertained, contemporaneous and subsequent practical construction is entitled to the greatest weight.
more Justice Melville Weston Fuller quotes
The principles of a free constitution are irrevocably lost when the legislative power is dominated by the executive.
more Edward Gibbon quotes
A martial nobility and stubborn commons, possessed of arms, tenacious of property, and collected into constitutional assemblies form the only balance capable of preserving a free constitution against the enterprise of an aspiring prince.
more Edward Gibbon quotes
If I resign any time this year, he [President Obama] could not successfully appoint anyone I would like to see in the court. ... [A]nybody who thinks that if I step down, Obama could appoint someone like me, they’re misguided.
more Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes
If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government...
more Alexander Hamilton quotes
Allow a government to decline paying its debts and you overthrow all public morality — you unhinge all the principles that preserve the limits of free constitutions. Nothing can more affect national prosperity than a constant and systematic attention to extinguish the present debt and to avoid as much as possibly the incurring of any new debt.
more Alexander Hamilton quotes
There is no position which depends on clearer principles, than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution, can be valid. To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves; that men acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
more Alexander Hamilton quotes
In this distribution of powers the wisdom of our constitution is manifested. It is the province and duty of the Executive to preserve to the Nation the blessings of peace. The Legislature alone can interrupt those blessings, by placing the Nation in a state of War.
more Alexander Hamilton quotes
We may safely rely on the disposition of the State legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.
more Alexander Hamilton quotes
What do we mean when we say that first of all we seek liberty? I often wonder whether we do not rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes; believe me, these are false hopes. Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it… What is this liberty that must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not the freedom to do as one likes. That is the denial of liberty and leads straight to its overthrow. A society in which men recognize no check on their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few -- as we have learned to our sorrow. What then is the spirit of liberty? I cannot define it; I can only tell you my own faith. The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other men and women; the spirit of liberty is the spirit which weighs their interests alongside its own without bias...
more Learned Hand quotes
That is reserved expressly to the States and is not granted to the Federal Government by our national charter. The Federal Government has nothing to do under the Constitution with the preservation of public order. To pass this bill is to pass a bill for an unconstitutional purpose, under the guise of regulating interstate commerce.
more George Huddleston quotes
At the establishment of our constitutions, the judiciary bodies were supposed to be the most helpless and harmless members of the government. Experience, however, soon showed in what way they were to become the most dangerous; that the insufficiency of the means provided for their removal gave them a freehold and irresponsibility in office; that their decisions, seeming to concern individual suitors only, pass silent and unheeded by the public at large; that these decisions, nevertheless, become law by precedent, sapping, by little and little, the foundations of the constitution, and working its change by construction, before any one has perceived that that invisible and helpless worm has been busily employed in consuming its substance. In truth, man is not made to be trusted for life, if secured against all liability to account.
more Thomas Jefferson quotes
[T]he drug prohibition laws have led to wholesale destruction of civil liberties. The War on Drugs has now become a War on the Constitution, and the American people have become, in the eyes of their government, a society of suspects.
more David B. Kopel quotes
Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.
more James Madison quotes
If it be asked what is to be the consequence, in case the Congress shall misconstrue this part of the Constitution, and exercise powers not warranted by its true meaning, I answer, the same as if they should misconstrue or enlarge any other power vested in them; as if the general power had been reduced to particulars, and any one of these were to be violated; the same, in short, as if the State legislatures should violate their respective constitutional authorities. In the first instance, the success of the usurpation will depend on the executive and judiciary departments, which are to expound and give effect to the legislative acts; and in the last resort a remedy must be obtained from the people who can, by the election of more faithful representatives, annul the acts of the usurpers.
more James Madison quotes
If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their own hands; they may appoint teachers in every State, county and parish and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision of the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress. ... Were the power of Congress to be established in the latitude contended for, it would subvert the very foundations, and transmute the very nature of the limited Government established by the people of America.
more James Madison quotes
Search the Constitution and you will find no power granted to the legislative branch to make laws governing agriculture, housing, medicine, energy, private ownership or weapons, and a great deal more.
more John F. McManus quotes
The claim and exercise of a Constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime.
more Miller v. U.S. quotes
'The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the milita, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right.
more Nunn vs. State quotes
A constitution is not the act of a government, but of a people constituting a government; and government without a constitution is power without a right. All power exercised over a nation, must have some beginning. It must be either delegated, or assumed. There are not other sources. All delegated power is trust, and all assumed power is usurpation. Time does not alter the nature and quality of either.
more Thomas Paine quotes
Our federal government, which was intended to operate as a very limited constitutional republic, has instead become a virtually socialist leviathan that redistributes trillions of dollars. We can hardly be surprised when countless special interests fight for the money. The only true solution to the campaign money problem is a return to a proper constitutional government that does not control the economy. Big government and big campaign money go hand-in-hand.
more Dr. Ron Paul quotes
The provision in the Constitution granting the right to all persons to bear arms is a limitation upon the power of the Legislature to enact any law to the contrary. The exercise of a right guaranteed by the Constitution cannot be made subject to the will of the sheriff.
more People vs. Zerillo quotes
A large body of people, sufficient to make a nation, have come to the conclusion that they will have a government of a certain form. Who denies them the right? Standing with the principles of '76 behind us, who can deny them the right? ... I maintain on the principles of '76 that Abraham Lincoln has no right to a soldier in Fort Sumter. ... You can never make such a war popular. ... The North never will endorse such a war.
more Wendell Phillips quotes
The constitutionality and propriety of the Federal Government assuming to enter into a novel and vast field of legislation, namely, that of providing for the care and support of all those … who by any form of calamity become fit objects of public philanthropy. ... I cannot find any authority in the Constitution for making the Federal Government the great almoner of public charity throughout the United States. To do so would, in my judgment, be contrary to the letter and spirit of the Constitution and subversive of the whole theory upon which the Union of these States is founded.
more Franklin Pierce quotes
Indeed, it was the enumeration of powers, not the enumeration of rights in the Bill of Rights, that was meant by the Framers to be the principal limitation on government power.
more Roger Pilon quotes
Over the 20th century, the federal government has assumed a vast and unprecedented set of powers. Not only has the exercise of those powers upset the balance between federal and state governments; run roughshod over individuals, families, and firms; and reduced economic opportunity for all; but most of what the federal government does today -- to put the point as plainly and candidly as possible -- is illegitimate because done without explicit constitutional authority. The time has come to start returning power to the states and the people, to relimit federal power in our fundamental law, to restore constitutional government.
more Roger Pilon quotes
The growth of federal power and programs over this century -- involving the regulation of business, the expansion of "civil rights," the production of environmental goods, and much else -- has taken place in large measure through the power of Congress to regulate "commerce among the states." That power has been read so broadly by the modern Court that Congress today can regulate anything that even "affects" commerce, which in principle is everything. As a result, save for the restraints imposed by the Bill of Rights, the commerce power is now essentially plenary, which is hardly what the Framers intended when they enumerated Congress’s powers. Indeed, if they had meant for Congress to be able to do anything it wanted under the commerce power, the enumeration of Congress’s other powers -- to say nothing of the defense of the doctrine of enumerated powers throughout the Federalist Papers -- would have been pointless. The purpose of the commerce clause quite simply, was to enable Congress to ensure the free flow of commerce among the states. Under the Articles of Confederation, state legislatures had enacted tariffs and other protectionist measures that impeded interstate commerce. To break the logjam, Congress was empowered to make commerce among the states "regular." In fact, the need to do so was one of the principal reasons behind the call for a new constitution.
more Roger Pilon quotes
The prohibition is general. No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give congress a power to disarm the people. Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under some general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any blind pursuit of inordinate power, either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.
more William Rawle quotes
As the interned American citizens of Japanese descent learned, the Bill of Rights provided them with little protection when it was needed.
more Glenn Harlan Reynolds quotes
Perhaps the deterioration of American education is illustrated by the high correlation between the number of years a person has attended school and his inability to understand the words "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It is more likely, though, that those who interpret the Second Amendment to preclude an individual right to own guns are driven by their political agenda. Whichever the case, they do themselves no credit when they tell us that a simple, elegant sentence means the opposite of what it clearly says.
more Sheldon Richman quotes
[The commerce clause was written] in the horse-and-buggy age ... since that time … we have developed an entirely different philosophy. ... We are interdependent, we are tied in together. And the hope has been that we could, through a period of years, interpret the interstate commerce clause of the Constitution in the light of these new things that have come to the country. It has been our hope that under the interstate commerce clause we could recognize by legislation and by judicial decision that a harmful practice in one section of the country could be prevented on the theory that it was doing harm to another section of the country. That was why the Congress for a good many years, and most lawyers, have had the thought that in drafting legislation we could depend on an interpretation that would enlarge the constitutional meaning of interstate commerce to include not only those matters of direct interstate commerce, but also those matters which indirectly affect interstate commerce.
more Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes
Are we going to take the hands of the federal government completely off any effort to adjust the growing of national crops, and go right straight back to the old principle that every farmer is a lord of his own farm and can do anything he wants, raise anything, any old time, in any quantity, and sell any time he wants?
more Franklin D. Roosevelt quotes
Since March 9, 1933, the United States has been in a state of declared national emergency....Under the powers delegated by these statutes, the President may: seize property; organize and control the means of production; seize commodities; assign military forces abroad; institute martial law; seize and control all transportation and communication; regulate the operation of private enterprise; restrict travel; and, in a plethora of particular ways, control the lives of all American citizens. ... A majority of the people of the United States have lived all of their lives under emergency rule. For 40 years, freedoms and governmental procedures guaranteed by the Constitution have, in varying degrees, been abridged by laws brought into force by states of national emergency....from, at least, the Civil War in important ways shaped the present phenomenon of a permanent state of national emergency.
more Senate Report, 93rd Congress quotes
The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions.
more State vs. Kerner quotes
That government being instituted for the common benefit, the doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power and oppression is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
more Tennessee Constitution quotes
...and in all cases of libels, the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court, as in other cases.
more Texas Constitution quotes
If there is one basic element in our Constitution, it is civilian control of the military.
more Harry S. Truman quotes
To the extent that these [New Deal policies] developed, they were tortured interpretations of a document [the Constitution] intended to prevent them.
more Rexford Tugwell quotes
Those who call themselves "liberals" today are asking for policies which are precisely the opposite of those policies which the liberals of the nineteenth century advocated in their liberal programs. The so-called liberals of today have the very popular idea that freedom of speech, of thought of the press, freedom of religion, freedom from imprisonment without trial -- that all these freedoms can be preserved in the absence of what is called economic freedom. They do not realize that, in a system where there is no market, where the government directs everything, all those other freedoms are illusory, even if they are made into laws and written up in constitutions.
more Ludwig von Mises quotes
Should, hereafter, those incited by the lust of power and prompted by the supineness or venality of their constituents, overleap the known barriers of this Constitution and violate the unalienable rights of humanity: it will only serve to show, that no compact among men (however provident in its construction and sacred in its ratification) can be pronounced everlasting and inviolable, and if I may so express myself, that no Wall of words, that no mound of parchment can be so formed as to stand against the sweeping torrent of boundless ambition on the side, aided by the sapping current of corrupted morals on the other.
more George Washington quotes
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