On OCTOBER 15, 1788, James Madison warned:
“As the courts are generally the last in making the decision, it results to them, by refusing or not refusing to execute a law, to stamp it with its final character.
This makes the Judiciary department paramount in fact to the Legislature, which was never intended and can never be proper.”
On OCTOBER 15, 1991, the U.S. Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas as a Justice on the Supreme Court. When questioned during the hearings by Senator Thurmond regarding judicial activism, Clarence Thomas replied:
“The role of a judge is a limited one. It is to…interpret the Constitution, where called upon, but at no point to impose his or her will or…opinion in that process.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote to Abigail Adams, September 11, 1804:
“Nothing in the Constitution has given them (judges) a right to decide for the Executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them…
The opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional… not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive…would make the judiciary a despotic branch.”
Webster’s Dictionary defined “despot” as:
“Absolute and arbitrary authority power… independent of the control of men.”
Jefferson to William Jarvis, September 28, 1820:
“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…”
“Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so….and their power (is) the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.
The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.”
In his 1841 Inaugural Address, President William Henry Harrison warned:
“The great danger to our institutions does…appear to me to be…the accumulation in one of the departments of that which was assigned to others.
Limited as are the powers which have been granted, still enough have been granted to constitute a despotism if concentrated in one of the departments.”
In 1857, Democrat appointed Justice Roger Taney gave the Supreme Court’s infamous Dred Scott decision that slaves were not citizens, but property.
Lincoln alluded to this decision in his First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1861:
“I do not forget the position assumed by some that constitutional questions are to be decided by the Supreme Court…
The candid citizen must confess that if 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…the people will have ceased to be their own rulers,
having to that extent practically resigned their Government into the hands of the eminent tribunal.”
Thomas Jefferson warned Mr. Hammond in 1821:
“The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in…the federal judiciary;
an irresponsible body…working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped from the States.”
Jefferson wrote September 6, 1819:
“The Constitution is a mere thing of wax in the hands of the judiciary, which they may twist and shape into any form they please.”
He explained to Supreme Court Justice William Johnson, June 12, 1823:
“On every question of construction, carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates,
and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
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