Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History: September 27, 1787

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9/27/1787: First Anti-Federalist letter by "Cato" is published.

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  1. This probably counts more as Supreme Court antihistory.

  2. In light of the recent passing of Charles Mills it's interesting to think of why so many "small government libertarian" types (both then and now) were/are drawn to revere historical figures that preached liberty while engaging in the actual enslavement of other human beings...

  3. "The supreme court under this constitution would be exalted above all other power in the government, and subject to no control... I question whether the world ever saw, in any period of it, a court of justice invested with such immense powers, and yet placed in a situation so little responsible...

    The judges in England, it is true, hold their offices during their good behavior, but then their determinations are subject to correction by the house of lords; and their power is by no means so extensive as that of the proposed supreme court of the union. I believe they in no instance assume the authority to set aside an act of parliament under the idea that it is inconsistent with their constitution. They consider themselves bound to decide according to the existing laws of the land, and never undertake to control them by adjudging that they are inconsistent with the constitution-much less are they vested with the power of giv[ing an] equitable construction to the constitution.

    The judges in England are under the control of the legislature, for they are bound to determine according to the laws passed under them. But the judges under this constitution will control the legislature, for the supreme court are authorised in the last resort, to determine what is the extent of the powers of the Congress. They are to give the constitution an explanation, and there is no power above them to set aside their judgment. The framers of this constitution appear to have followed that of the British, in rendering the judges independent, by granting them their offices during good behavior, without following the constitution of England, in instituting a tribunal in which their errors may be corrected; and without adverting to this, that the judicial under this system have a power which is above the legislative, and which indeed transcends any power before given to a judicial by any free government under heaven.

    ...There is no authority that can remove them, and they cannot be controlled by the laws of the legislature. In short, they are independent of the people, of the legislature, and of every power under heaven. Men placed in this situation will generally soon feel themselves independent of heaven itself."

    - Brutus (Robert Yates), 20 March 1788

    1. well said..
      Excellent

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