quotes tagged with 'judges'

The public welfare demands that constitutional cases must be decided according to the terms of the Constitution itself, and not according to judges' view of fairness, reasonableness, or justice.

Author: Supreme Court Justice Hugo L. Black, Source: UnknownSaved by ImaWriterIII in constitution government justice judges supremecourt hugolblack 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]

[J]udges, therefore, should be always men of learning and experience in the laws, of exemplary morals, great patience, calmness, coolness, and attention. Their minds should not be distracted with jarring interests; they should not be dependent upon any man, or body of men.

Author: John Adams, Source: UnknownSaved by ImaWriterIII in liberty government tyranny character law court johnadams judges 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]

Cherish, therefore, the spirit of our people, and keep alive their attention. Do not be too severe upon their errors, but reclaim them by enlightening them. If once they become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves.

Author: Thomas Jefferson, Source: letter to Edward Carrington, 1787Saved by ImaWriterIII in liberty government thomasjefferson education spirit congress judges 9 years ago[save this] [permalink]

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