Skip to comments.Founders' Quotes - Separation of Powers
Posted on 06/17/2008 6:06:29 AM PDT by Loud Mime
As the partisan Legislative branch seeks to invade the inner offices of the Executive, a review of the separation of powers issue is timely:
The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, selfappointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Were the federal Constitution, therefore, really chargeable with the accumulation of power, or with a mixture of powers, having a dangerous tendency to such an accumulation, no further arguments would be necessary to inspire a universal reprobation of the system. I persuade myself, however, that it will be made apparent to every one, that the charge cannot be supported, and that the maxim on which it relies has been totally misconceived and misapplied. In order to form correct ideas on this important subject, it will be proper to investigate the sense in which the preservation of liberty requires that the three great departments of power should be separate and distinct.
Federalist Paper 47; James Madison
It is agreed on all sides, that the powers properly belonging to one of the departments ought not to be directly and completely administered by either of the other departments. It is equally evident, that none of them ought to possess, directly or indirectly, an overruling influence over the others, in the administration of their respective powers. It will not be denied, that power is of an encroaching nature, and that it ought to be effectually restrained from passing the limits assigned to it.
Federalist Paper 48; James Madison
Will it be sufficient to mark, with precision, the boundaries of these departments, in the constitution of the government, and to trust to these parchment barriers against the encroaching spirit of power? This is the security which appears to have been principally relied on by the compilers of most of the American constitutions. But experience assures us, that the efficacy of the provision has been greatly overrated; and that some more adequate defense is indispensably necessary for the more feeble, against the more powerful, members of the government. The legislative department is everywhere extending the sphere of its activity, and drawing all power into its impetuous vortex.
Federalist Paper 48; James Madison [my emphasis]
On the Legislatures override of a Presidents Veto: When 3/4 was agreed to, the President was to be elected by the Legislature and for seven years. He is now to be elected by the people and for four years. The object of the revisionary power is twofold. 1. to defend the Executive Rights 2. to prevent popular or factious injustice. It was an important principle in this & in the State Constitutions to check legislative injustice and incroachments. The Experience of the States had demonstrated that their checks are insufficient.
Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787, as reported by James Madison; Wednesday, September 12, 1787
Cited from House Document No. 398, 69th Congress, 1st session, courtesy North America Communication Corporation's Documents Illustrative of the Formation of the Union, with The Federalist Papers(tm),
personal note: I am doing business in Colorado now, hence the absence of last week's thread. I will be covering our National under-18 basketball team trials in Washington DC during the week of July 4th. If any of you is interested in compiling that week's FQ thread, please send a freepmail.
From George Washington's Farewell Address
Thanks for the link to WSJ and the quotes. Very interesting.
Great addition! Washington’s Farewell Address should be required study for all high schoolers.....not so much for the students as for the teachers.
George Washington was a realist. I thank God for him.
Some perplexity respecting the rights of the courts to pronounce legislative acts void, because contrary to the Constitution, has arisen from an imagination that the doctrine would imply a superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power. It is urged that the authority which can declare the acts of another void, must necessarily be superior to the one whose acts may be declared void. As this doctrine is of great importance in all the American constitutions, a brief discussion of the ground on which it rests cannot be unacceptable.
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 what their powers do not authorize, but what they forbid.
If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. 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. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power. It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental.
Alexander Hamilton - 78th Federalist Paper.
A list of NWO elites’ quotes from 1900 forward by our political leaders TO COMPARE WITH OUR FOUNDERS’ QUOTES . . . is available at post #76 here:
That is an interesting post!
Hamilton’s opinion about the relationship between the judicial and legislative branches makes plenty of sense. I’m pretty sure, however, that he’s spinning in his grave over the unchecked power grabs these same courts are exercising today. Witness the Supreme Court’s recent overstepping into the Executive Branch and attempted hijacking of the powers of the Commander-in-Chief!
Of course, it is yet to be seen if the present Commander-in-Chief has the spine to tell these 5 - 4 scumbags to go play in the street.
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.
Can you imagine his telling them to either obey the Constitution or get out of their robes?
We need to return to the constitutional foundation of this nation!
However, won’t happen until after Jesus comes.
Who knows how He’ll arrange things.
I got some news for you....if He didn’t come to stop the Holocaust, he won’t come for this.
It’s up to us. He’ll help as we act.
I’m all for acting in whatever ways God instructs even to the point of death.
Oh, He’s coming . . . alas, after a worse holocaust, by far.
AS Scripture says, He’ll shorten the days else no flesh would be saved.