A question arises whether all the powers of government, legislative, executive, and judicial, shall be left in this body? I think a people cannot be long free, nor ever happy, whose government is in one Assembly.
more John Adams quotes
Aside from the most committed libertarians, few Americans would list a lack of freedom in their lives as their most pressing concern. That is not to deny that militant leftism, the administrative state, and the imperial judiciary threaten liberty—they most emphatically do. Nor is it to argue that conservatives should not care for liberty. Rather it is to recognize that the average American, including the average Republican voter, is not a libertarian, has come to expect quite a lot from the federal government, and cares as much, if not more, about security than liberty (or opportunity for that matter, unless he is young and on the make).
more David Azerrad quotes
'Stare decisis' is usually the wise policy.... [b]ut where correction through legislative action is practically impossible, this Court has often overruled its earlier decisions...
more Justice Louis D. Brandeis quotes
When, after having examined in detail the organization of the Supreme Court, one comes to consider in sum the prerogatives that have been given it, one discovers without difficulty that a more immense judicial power has never been constituted in any people.
more Alexis de Tocqueville quotes
Frankly I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don’t want to have too many of.
more Ruth Bader Ginsburg quotes
No one in America fully understands the constantly changing Internal Revenue Code. Agents of the IRS do not, judges do not, congressmen do not, and most assuredly taxpayers do not.
more G. Edward Griffin quotes
[T]he courts in the United States are continually called upon to deal with questions that are purely political and governmental; to enter, partially at least, into the realm of legislation; and to discuss questions of political, economic, and social theory.
more Charles Haines quotes
[A] limited Constitution ... can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of courts of justice, whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the Constitution void. Without this, all the reservations of particular rights or privileges would amount to nothing ... To deny this would be to affirm … 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
I know, may it please your honour, the jury may do so; but I do likewise know they may do otherwise. I know they have the right, beyond all dispute, to determine both the law and the fact; and where they do not doubt the law, they ought to do so. This of leaving it to the judgment of the Court whether the words are libelous or not in effect renders juries useless (to say no worse) in many cases.
more Andrew Hamilton quotes
You seem ... to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy... The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal.
more Thomas Jefferson 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
[N]othing in the Constitution has given [the judiciary] a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the executive to decide for them. Both magistracies are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them… the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what are not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the Legislature & Executive also, in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.
more Thomas Jefferson quotes
Our legislators are not sufficiently apprized of the rightful limits of their power; that their true office is to declare and enforce only our natural rights and duties, and to take none of them from us. No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another; and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him; every man is under the natural duty of contributing to the necessities of the society; and this is all the laws should enforce on him; and, no man having a natural right to be the judge between himself and another, it is his natural duty to submit to the umpirage of an impartial third. When the laws have declared and enforced all this, they have fulfilled their functions, and the idea is quite unfounded, that on entering into society we give up any natural right.
more Thomas Jefferson quotes
When governments use the judiciary to recover “damage,” the courts intrude on the regulatory and revenue responsibilities of legislatures. And when lawsuits based on tenuous legal theories impose high costs on defendants, due process gives way to a form of extortion, with public officials serving as bagmen for private contingency fee lawyers.
more Michael I. Kraus quotes
The powers properly belonging to one of the departments ought not to be directly and completely administered by either of the other departments. It is equally evident, that none of them ought to possess, directly or indirectly, an overruling influence over the others, in the administration of their respective powers. It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.
more James Madison quotes
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.
more James Madison quotes
I acknowledge, in the ordinary course of government, that the exposition of the laws and Constitution devolves upon the judicial. But I beg to know upon what principle it can be contended that any one department draws from the Constitution greater powers than another in marking out the limits of the powers of the several departments.
more James Madison quotes
It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases must, of necessity, expound and interpret that rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the Courts must decide on the operation of each. So, if a law be in opposition to the Constitution, if both the law and the Constitution apply to a particular case, so that the Court must either decide that case conformably to the law, disregarding the Constitution, or conformably to the Constitution, disregarding the law, the Court must determine which of these conflicting rules governs the case. This is of the very essence of judicial duty. If, then, the Courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the Legislature, the Constitution, and not such ordinary act, must govern the case to which they both apply.
more John Marshall quotes
The province of the Court is solely to decide on the rights of individuals... . Questions, in their nature political or which are, by the Constitution and laws, submitted to the Executive, can never be made in this court.
more John Marshall quotes
Now all acts of legislature apparently contrary to natural right and justice, are, in our laws, and must be in the nature of things, considered as void. The laws of nature are the laws of God: A legislature must not obstruct our obedience to him from whose punishments they cannot protect us. All human constitutions which contradict His laws, we are in conscience bound to disobey. Such have been the adjudications of our courts of justice.
more George Mason quotes
If the president alone was vested with the power of appointing all officers, and was left to select a council for himself, he would be liable to be deceived by flatterers and pretenders to patriotism.
more Roger Sherman quotes
The truth is, that, even with the most secure tenure of office, during good behavior, the danger is not, that the judges will be too firm in resisting public opinion, and in defence of private rights or public liberties; but, that they will be ready to yield themselves to the passions, and politics, and prejudices of the day.
more Joseph Story quotes
Constitutions are violated, and it would be absurd to expect the federal government to enforce the Constitution against itself. If the very federal judges the Constitution was partly intended to restrain were the ones exclusively charged with enforcing it, then “America possesses only the effigy of a Constitution.” The states, the very constituents of the Union, had to do the enforcing.
more John Taylor quotes
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.
more James Wilson quotes
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