Friday, November 21, 2008

Jefferson on the Power of the Courts, part 5

There are many examples in other posts where a court has overturned the other two branches of government. We have seen laws passed by a large majority, supported by both Senate and House, and approved by the President of Governor, only to be overturned by either a state supreme court of the Supreme Court of the United States. Jefferson wrote extensively about this. Below is one more of his opinions, this one from correspondence from Jefferson to Nathaniel Macon in 1821.

"[How] to check these unconstitutional invasions of... rights by the Federal judiciary? Not by impeachment in the first instance, but by a strong protestation of both houses of Congress that such and such doctrines advanced by the Supreme Court are contrary to the Constitution; and if afterwards they relapse into the same heresies, impeach and set the whole adrift. For what was the government divided into three branches, but that each should watch over the others and oppose their usurpations?"

More of Jefferson's thoughts can be found on the University of Virginia site

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