Daniel Webster, James Otis, and Sir Edward Coke all pointed out that the mere fact of enactment does not and cannot raise mere statutes to the standing of law. Not everything can be considered the Law of the Land.more American Jurisprudence (Second) quotes
Under our form of government, the legislature is not supreme ... like other departments of government, it can only exercise such powers as have been delegated to it, and when it steps beyond that boundary, its acts, like those of the most humble magistrate in the state who transcends his jurisdiction, are utterly void.more Billings v. Hall quotes
When courts fail to engage in oversight or even distort the Constitution to rationalize the ultra vires actions of government, and when academics and political activists aid and abet them in this activity by devising ingenious rationalizations for ignoring the Constitution’s words, they are playing a most dangerous game. For they are putting at risk the legitimacy of the lawmaking process and risking the permanent disaffection of significant segments of the people.more Brannon P. Denning quotes
For the power given to Congress by the Constitution does not extend to the internal regulation of the commerce of a State (that is to say, of the commerce between citizen and citizen,) which remain exclusively with its own legislature; but to its external commerce only, that is to say, its commerce with another State, or with foreign nations, or with the Indian tribes.more Thomas Jefferson quotes
[I]f the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people, is to be irrevocably fixed by decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made, in ordinary litigation between parties, in personal actions, the people will have ceased to be their own rulers, having to that extent practically resigned their government into the hands of that eminent tribunal.more Abraham Lincoln quotes
It is very certain that [the commerce clause] grew out of the abuse of the power by the importing States in taxing the non-importing, and was intended as a negative and preventive provision against injustice among the States themselves, rather than as a power to be used for the positive purposes of the General Government.more James Madison quotes
State inspection laws, health laws, and laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c. are not within the power granted to Congress. ...
Inspection laws, quarantine laws, health laws of every description, as well as laws for regulating the internal commerce of a State, and those which respect turnpike roads, ferries, &c., are component parts of this mass.
No direct general power over these objects is granted to Congress, and, consequently, they remain subject to State legislation.more Justice John Marshall 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
Americans find it intolerable that one constitutional right should have to be surrendered in order to assert another. America is the land of the free and home of the brave -- we don't need a Patriot Act, because we are already patriots. We know freedom means responsibility, but I am not sure Congress and its domestic enforcement agencies do. More often than not, new security measures enacted by the government have resulted in more violations of the citizenry than terrorists have ever done. The terrorists want us to be afraid -- well, we are not afraid. Stop wasting dollars on this program -- it is not good for America. To give up essential liberty for a little security provides neither. The right to be left alone from government intrusion is the beginning of all freedoms.more Eric Schaub quotes
To secure their enjoyment, however, certain protections or barriers have been erected which serve to maintain inviolate the three primary rights of personal security, personal liberty, and private property. These may in America be said to be: 1. The bill of rights and written constitutions ... 2. The rights of bearing arms -- which with us is not limited and restrained by an arbitrary system of game laws as in England, but is particularly enjoyed by every citizen, and is among his most valuable privileges, since it furnishes the means of resisting as a freeman ought, the inroads of usurpation.more Henry St. George Tucker 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
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