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838. In virtue of this provision, the Constitution and Laws of several of the States have, in a variety of cases, been declared void by the Judieial Power, on the ground of their repugnancy to, or incompatibility
with, the Constitution, Laws, or Treaties of the United - States.
839. In all cases of actual collision between the - "authority of a State, and the constitutional power of - the United States, the State is bound by the construc
. tion of the Federal Government relative to its own • powers; and no State has authority, either by an Act
of ordinary legislation, or by a fundamental Law, to . declare void a Law of the United States, or suspend . . its operation within the territorial jurisdiction of the
842. As the Government of the Union exists over. all the States, and operates upon individuals, it must, to the extent of its limited powers, possess the au- . thority of final decision on all questions of conflicting ., jurisdiction, by necessary implication, independently of the express grant; as it is a power which on general. principles, is inherent in all Governments. . : 843. As the Government of the Union has a Legislative and an Executive department of its own, and a Judiciary department with jurisdiction co-extensive with the Legislative Power; each of these departe ments must, from the nature of the powers vested in: it, be supreme within the limits of those powers; and , must necessarily judge, independently of State control, of the extent of its own powers, as often as it is called on to exercise them, or it cannot act at all. **
: 844. Amongst the provisions for giving efficacy to the Legislative Powers of the Union, may be included,.. .
! JIļ. Those specially vested in the Executive and .: Judicial departments, and particularly the
provision extending the jurisdiction of the .: National Judiciary to all cases arising under . ::. the Constitution of the United States. .845. This last provision in effect creates, in the supreme Judicial authority of the Union, a common arbiter in all cases of collision between the power .. and authority of the Union, and of the several States, wherevever the controversy assumes a judicial form.
846. Such collisions have occurred in times of no extraordinary commotion, and have hitherto been adjusted by the operation of this power; but it was intended to afford to the Constitution, the perpétual means of self-preservation, and to secure the execu
tion of the Laws of the Union, against other perils than those of common occurrence..
847. For this purpose a distinct and independent Judicial department was erected for the Union, and power was conferred on it to construe the National Constitution and Laws in the last resort, in every case in which questions of construction might arise, and to preserve the Constitution, and the Laws and Treaties of the United States, from violation, so far as judicial decisions might avail for that purpose.
848. In addition to this provision, powers necessary and proper to carry into effect the Judgments and Decrees of the Federal Courts, are conferred on the Chief Executive Magistrate, either directly by the Constitution itself, or indirectly, by vesting in the Legislative department, authority to confer it, which power has been duly executed by Congress.
849. Another provision for giving efficacy to the powers of the National Government, is found in IV. The article requiring “ the Senators and
Representatives in Congress, and the mem-
all Executive and Judicial officers, both of
850. As the election of the President, Vice President, and Senators depends in all cases, and that of the House of Representatives depended in the first instance, and still, in fact, depends, on the Legislatures of the several States, it was necessary, in order to insure the stability of the General Government, to provide a sanction similar to that relied on for the continuance of the State Governments; and to obtain
by an appeal to the consciences of individuals, an equal security in both cases.
851. No State Power can discharge any individual from the obligation of this oath; and no member of a State Legislature can refuse to proceed at the ap. pointed time, to elect Senators in Congress, or to provide for the election of Electors of President and Vice President, or of Representatives in Congress, without a violation of his duty, and of the oath to enforce its performance.
852. It is not, therefore, a matter of discretion with the States, whether they will continue the National Government, or break it up, by refusing to appoint Senators, or preventing the choice of Electors or Representatives ; and although it were true that the Legislative powers of the Union would be suspended, if the States, or a majority of them, were to neglect to choose Senators ; yet if any number of States less than a majority, should omit to elect them, Congress would not on that account, be the less capable of performing all its functions.
853. The last provision contained in the Constitution for giving effect to its powers, is that by which operation was given to the whole system, by declar
V. That “the ratifications of the Conventions
of nine States should be sufficient for the establishment of the Constitution between the States ratifying the same."
854. The express authority of the People themselves was required to give validity to a Constitution which was to operate upon them as individuals ; but to have required the unanimous ratification of the several States, would have subjected the essential interests of the whole to the caprice or corruption of the smallest minority.
855. A question, however, of a very delicate 'nature arose with respect to this article, when the Constitution was proposed to the People for adoption, in consequence of the doubt entertained by some, whether the Confederation, which stood in the solemn form of a Compact between the States, could be superseded without the unanimous consent of the par, ties to that instrument.
856. It was not pretended that an individual State could withdraw from that compact, considered as a league or treaty, at its mere pleasure or discretion, nor be absolved from its perpetual obligation, except on the ground of the extreme necessity of self-preservation, or of a breach or violation of the compact by some other of the parties ; of which breach or violation the parties themselves claimed to be judges only from the nature of the Confederation as a Treaty between independent Sovereignties.
857. The Convention which framed the Constitution was elected by the State Legislatures, and the instrument which came from their hands was a mere proposal without any pretensions to actual obligation ; as such, it was reported to the former Congress, to be by them “submitted to a Convention of delegates to be chosen in each State by the people thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification.”
858. This course of proceeding was adopted, and the proposed form of Government was accordingly submitted to the People, who acted upon it in the only mode in which they could safely and effectually act on such an occasion, by assembling for the purpose, in their respective Conventions."