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Page 207 - The Constitution is either a superior, paramount law, unchangeable by ordinary means, or it is on a level with ordinary legislative acts, and, like other acts, is alterable when the legislature shall please to alter it. If the former part of the alternative be true, then a legislative act contrary to the Constitution is not law ; if the latter part be true, then written constitutions are absurd attempts on the part of the people to limit a power in its own nature illimitable.
Page 208 - This doctrine would subvert the very foundation of all written constitutions. It would declare that an act which, according to the principles and theory of our government is entirely void, is yet, in practice, completely obligatory. It would declare that if the legislature shall do what is expressly forbidden, such act, notwithstanding the express prohibition, is in reality effectual. It would be giving to the legislature a practical and real omnipotence, with the same breath which professes to restrict...
Page 207 - Certainly all those who have framed written constitutions contemplate them as forming the fundamental and paramount law of the nation, and, consequently, the theory of every such government must be, that an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void.
Page 208 - Those, then, who controvert the principle that the Constitution is to be considered, in court, as a paramount law, are reduced to the necessity of maintaining that courts must close their eyes on the Constitution, and see only the law.
Page 208 - It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is. Those who apply the rule to particular cases, must of necessity expound and interpret the rule. If two laws conflict with each other, the courts must decide on the operation of each.
Page 208 - If then the courts are to regard the Constitution, and the Constitution is superior to any ordinary act of the legislature, the Constitution and not such ordinary act must govern the case to which they both apply.
Page 196 - Limitations of this kind can be preserved in practice no other way than through the medium of the courts of justice ; whose duty it must be to declare all acts contrary to the manifest tenor of the constitution void.
Page 208 - If an act of the legislature, repugnant to the constitution, is void, does it, notwithstanding its invalidity, bind the courts, and oblige them to give it effect? Or, in other words, though it be not law, does it constitute a rule as operative as if it was a law? This would be to overthrow in fact what was established in theory; and would seem, at first view, an absurdity too gross to be insisted on...
Page 195 - An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.
Page 383 - THERE was a sound of revelry by night, And Belgium's capital had gathered then Her beauty and her Chivalry, and bright The lamps shone o'er fair women and brave men A thousand hearts beat happily; and when Music arose with its voluptuous swell, Soft eyes looked love to eyes which spake again, And all went merry as a marriage-bell; But hush ! hark ! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell.