Is an Opinion of the Supreme Court the ‘Law of the Land’? Ask Thomas Jefferson

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Here’s what Thomas Jefferson had to say on the issue in a letter to William Charles Jarvis (28 September 1820).

You seem … to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.

Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is “boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem” [it is the part of a good judge to enlarge his jurisdiction], and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control.

The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots.

Read more at GodfatherPolitics

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