quotes tagged with 'courts'

If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence and the courts must abide by that decision.

Author: US v Moylan, Source: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, 1969, 417 F.2d at 1006Saved by ImaWriterIII in constitution judge right law jury courts unjust 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]

It is not the responsibility of the government or the legal system to protect a citizen from himself.

Author: Justice Casey Percell, Source: UnknownSaved by ImaWriterIII in liberty government freedom tyranny courts caseypercell 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]

I cannot subscribe to the omnipotence of a state legislature, or that it is absolute and without control; although its authority should not be expressly restrained by the Constitution, or fundamental law, of the state. The nature, and ends of legislative power will limit the exercise of it. This fundamental principle flows from the very nature of our free Republican governments, that no man should be compelled to do what the laws do not require, nor to refrain from acts which the laws permit. There are acts which the Federal, or State, Legislature cannot do, without exceeding their authority. There are certain vital principles in our free Republican governments, which will determine and overrule an apparent and flagrant abuse of legislative power; as to authorize manifest injustice by positive law; or to take away that security for personal liberty, or private property, for the protection whereof the government was established. An Act of the legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority. The obligation of a law in governments established on express compact, and on republican principles, must be determined by the nature of the power, on which it is founded. A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. A law that punishes a citizen for an innocent action, or, in other words, for an act, which, when done, was in violation of no existing law; a law that destroys, or impairs, the lawful private contracts of citizens; a law that makes a man a judge in his own cause; or a law that takes property from A and gives it to B. It is against all reason and justice for a people to intrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it. The genius, the nature and the spirit, of our State Government, amount to a prohibition of such acts of legislation; and the general principles of law and reason forbid them. The legislature may enjoin, permit, forbid, and punish; they may declare new crimes, and establish rules of conduct for all its citizens in future cases; they may command what is right, and prohibit what is wrong; but they cannot change innocence into guilt; or punish innocence as a crime; or violate the right of an antecedent lawful private contract; or the right of private property. To maintain that our Federal, or State, Legislature possesses such powers, if they had not been expressly restrained, would, in my opinion, be a political heresy altogether inadmissible in our free republican governments.

Author: Justice Chase, Source: opinion in Calder v. Bull, 3 Dallas 386-389 (1798).Saved by ImaWriterIII in constitution government legislature properroleofgovernment encroachment judges courtopinion courts 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]

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 thye courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution.

Author: Mugler v. Kansas, Source: Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 661.Saved by ImaWriterIII in constitution government properroleofgovernment judges courtopinion courts 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]
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. And what is this liberty which must lie in the hearts of men and women? It is not the ruthless, the unbridled will; it is not 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 upon their freedom soon becomes a society where freedom is the possession of only a savage few; as we have learned to our sorrow.
Author: Billings Learned Hand, Source: P. 190, The Spirit of Liberty (1944)Saved by ImaWriterIII in liberty government freedom tyranny learnedhand unalienablerights courts constuttion 13 years ago[save this] [permalink]

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