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Page:United States Reports, Volume 2.djvu/314

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3Q! Casas ruled and adjudged in the rypg. r {hurt, do every thing that is not naturally impollible; and there- vvv fore fom; have Hot 1`crupled to call its power, by a figure rather too bold, the omnipotence of Parliament. True it is, that what the Parliament doth, no authority upon earth can undo.” {1 Bl. Com. r6o.} - From this paliage it is evident, that, in England, the authority of the Parliament runs without limits, and rifes above eontroul. , It is dillieult to fa what the coirllzitution of England is; becaufe, not being reducedl to written certainty and precilion, it lies en. tirely at the mercy of the Parliament: It bends to every go» _ vemmental exigency; it varies and is blown about by every breeze of legillative humour or political caprice. Some of the judges in England have had the boldnefs to all`ert, that an ad: bf arliament, made againfl natural equity, is void; but this ~ opinion cpntravenes the general polition, t at the validity of an aét of Parliament cannot be drawn into queltion by the, judicial department : It cannot be difputed, and mult be obeyed. The _ power of Parliament is abfolute and tranfcendant; it is omni- potent in the fcale of political exillence. Belides, in Englard there is no written conllitution, no fundamental law, nothing vilible, nothingreal, nothing certain, by which a {iatute can he telted. In America the cafe iswidely different t Every State

  • in the Union has. its conllitution reduced to written exaétitude

and precilion. . What is a Conltitution ? It is the form of govemment, deli· ueated by the mighty hand of the people, in which certain Brit principles of fundamental laws are ellablilhed. The Conllitu- tion is certain and fixed; it contains the permanent will of the _ people, and is the fupreme law of the land; it is. paramount to thepower of the Legillature, and can be revoked or altered on- lycby the authority that made it. The life-giving principle and t deathqdoing ltroke mult proceed from the fame hand. What are Legillatures? Creatures of the Conftitution; they - owe their exillence to the Conftitution: they derive their pow- ers from the Coniiitution: It is their commillion; and, there- , fore, all their aéts mult be conformable to it, or elle they will be ' void. The Coullitution is the work or will of the People them- {elves, in their original, fovereign, and unlimited capacity. Law is the work or will of the Legiilature in their derivative and fu- hordinate capacit . The one is the work of the Creator, and the other of the Creature. The Conflitution fixes limits to the _ exercife of lcgillativc authority, and prefcribes the orbit within _ which it mult move. In {horn gentlemen,-the Conllitution is the fun of the political fyllcem, around which all Legillative, Executive and Judicial bodies mult revolve. Whatever may be the cafe in other countries, yet in this there can be no doubt, that every aét of the Legillature, repugnant to the Conllitution, is abfolutcly v<>i<!» la