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from apprehensions or suspicions of partiality being thus avoided..
9. To controversies between citizens of different
Slates; because the immediate fellow-citizens of neither of the parties should be the sole judges in such cases; and the free and equal citizens of the General Government should have free and equal justice in tribunals common to them all.
10. To controversies between citizens of the same State, claiming lands under grants of different States; because, as the rights of the two States to grant the land are drawn in question, neither of them ought to decide the controversy.
11. To controversies between a State when plaintiff, or between the citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens, or Subjects; because, as every nation is responsible for the conduct of its citizens towards other nations, all questions touching the justice due to foreign States or People, should be ascertained by, and depend on, national authority.
257. The propriety of vesting these powers in the Judiciary department of the United States, seems to result, as a necessary consequence, from their union as one nation; and the exercise of jurisdistion in all these cases, by the national tribunals, may be considered requisite to the existence of the national Government.
258. By " cases" in this article of the Constitution, are understood criminal, as well as civil cases; and the fitness of extending the Judicial power to all cases of both descriptions, arising under the Constitution, in contradistinction to those arising under Laws passed in virtue of its authority, depends on the obvious necessity of giving efficacy to those constitutional provisions which neither require nor admit of an Act of the national Legislature to sanction and enforce them.
259. The individual States are prohibited by the Federal Constitution, from the performance of certain acts, some of which are incompatible with the interests and objects of the Union, and others with the principles of good Government; but such prohibitions would be ineffectual without some power in the General Government, to restrain or correct their violation.
260. From the nature of the case, this power must have been either the authority actually vested in the national Courts, to overrule such Laws of the several States, as contravene the Federal Constitution; or instead of it, a direct negative upon the Laws must have been vested in the Executive department of the national Government.
261. The latter expedient was indeed proposed as a substitute for that which was adopted; and there is no other alternative that can be devised, without involving a power in any one State to suspend or subvert, within its limits, the acts and operations of every department of the General Government, though every other member of the Union may admit their validity.
262. That the jurisdiction of the Federal Courts should extend to all cases, whether civil or criminal, arising under Laws passed in virtue of the Federal Constitution, is evident from the principle already stated, "that the Judicial power in every Government must be co-extensive with the power of legislation."
263. In a Government formed from the union of
the People of so many separate and independent States, as well as of those States themselves, into one nation, organized under a written compact of government, the necessity of uniformity in the interpretation of the national Laws, is of itself sufficient to render this provision indispensable.
264. The extension of the Judicial power " to cases arising under Treaties, made under the authority of the United States," was equally necessary and proper; as without this jurisdiction in the Courts of the Union, there would be perpetual danger of collision, and even of war, with foreign powers, and an utter incapacity on the part of the Government to fulfil these national contracts.
265. As the Constitution, and the Laws of the United States made in pursuance of it, and all Treaties made under the authority of the Union, are de- • clared to be " The Supreme Law Of The Land;" and the Judges in every State are bound thereby, "any thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State, to the
'contrary notwithstanding,'-''—as every Act of Congress, or of the State Legislatures, and every part of the Constitution of any State which is repugnant to the Federal Constitution, is null and void,—and as the Judicial Power of the Union extends "to all cases in law or equity, arising under the Constitution, Laws, and Treaties of the United States," it necessarily belongs to that Power, whenever a case judicially arises, to determine what is the Supreme Law of the land; and the determination of the Supreme Court of the United States must be final and conclusive, because the Constitution gives to that tribunal power to decide in every such case, and gives no appeal from its decision. .
266. The right of Courts of Justice to pronounce
Legislative acts void, on the ground of their unconstitutionality, has sometimes been doubted or denied, either from a misconception of the principle on which it rests, or from an apprehension that the doctrine would establish a superiority of the Judicial, over the Legislative Power.
267. But no position is founded on clearer principles, than that every act of delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, must be void; and no Legislative act contrary to the Constitution, which is the commission from which every department of the Government derives its authority, can therefore be valid.
268. Without an express provision to that effect, it is not to be presumed that the Constitution intended to enable the representatives of the People, in the Legislature, to substitute their will in the place of the will of their constituents; and to render'a construction by the Legislature of their own powers conclusive upon the other departments.
269. It is more reasonable to conclude, that the Courts of Justice were intended, not only to' represent the sovereign authority of the People "in a separate and co-ordinate department; but were designed in that capacity, to act as an intermediate body between the People and the Legislature, in order, amongst other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to its authority.
270. The interpretation of the Laws is the peculiar province of Courts of Justice; and as the Constitution is in fact, a fundamental Law, and the Courts are bound to regard it as such, it is as much their duty to ascertain its meaning, as to ascertain the meaning of any act proceeding from the Legislative body.
271. If in any case there should be found an irreconcileable variance between a Law and the Constitution, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought of course to be preferred; the Constitution should prevail over the statute, and the intention of the People themselves be carried into effect, instead of the intention of their agents.
272. This conclusion by no means supposes a superiority of the Judicial, over the Legislative Power: it merely supposes that the People are superior to both; and where the will of the Legislature declared in the Law, stands opposed to the will of the People declared in the Constitution, the Judges are to be governed by the latter rather than by the former; and Courts are bound to regulate their decisions by that fundamental Law over which the Legislature has no control, rather than by those which it may at any time alter or repeal, and which derive their validity and effect from the Constitution.
273. There is no weight in the . objection, that Courts of Justice, on the pretence of a repugnancy between a Law and the Constitution, may substitute their own pleasure in the place of the constitutional intentions of the Legislature; because this might as well happen in the case of two contradictory statutes, or in every adjudication upon any single Legislative Act.
274. The Courts are bound to declare the meaning of the Law; and if they should be disposed to exercise will, instead of judgment, the consequence in all cases equally, would be the substitution of their own pleasure, to that of the Legislature; and therefore, if the objection proved any thing, it would prove that there ought to be no Courts or Judges distinct from the Legislative body.