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Page 289 - There is no position which depends on clearer principles than that every act of a delegated authority, contrary to the tenor of the commission under which it is exercised, is void. No legislative act, therefore, contrary to the Constitution can be valid. To deny this would be to affirm that the deputy is greater than his principal, that the servant is above his master, that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves, that men acting by virtue of powers may do not only...
Page 457 - The sovereignty of a State extends to everything which exists by its own authority, or is introduced by its permission; but does it extend to those means which are employed by Congress to carry into execution powers conferred on that body by the people of the United States ? We think it demonstrable that it does not.
Page 289 - To deny this, would be to affirm, that the deputy is greater than his principal ; that the servant is above his master; that the representatives of the people are superior to the people themselves ; that men, acting by virtue of powers, may do not only what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
Page 463 - If the legislatures of the several states may, at will, annul the judgments of the courts of the United States, and destroy the rights acquired under those judgments, the constitution itself becomes a solemn mockery . . . .
Page 290 - The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the Courts. A Constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the Judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular Act proceeding from the Legislative body.
Page 446 - The province of the court is, solely, to decide on the rights of individuals, not to inquire how the executive, or executive officers, perform duties in which they have a discretion.
Page 464 - The constitution confers absolutely on the government of the union the powers of making war, and of making treaties ; consequently, that government possesses the power of acquiring territory, either by conquest or by treaty.
Page 450 - It is a proposition too plain to be contested, that the constitution controls any legislative act repugnant to it; or that the legislature may alter the Constitution by an ordinary act.
Page 296 - The rule applicable here is that effect is to be given, if possible, to the whole instrument, and to every section and clause. If different portions seem to conflict, the courts must harmonize them, if practicable, and must lean in favor of a construction which will render every word operative, rather than one which may make some words idle and nugatory.
Page 450 - This original and supreme will organizes the government, and assigns to different departments their respective powers. It may either stop here, or establish certain limits not to be transcended by those departments. "The government of the United States is of the latter description. The powers of the legislature are defined and limited; and that those limits may not be mistaken, or forgotten, the constitution is writted.