Eternal Foundations of the Law and the Role of the Judiciary


Joseph Story declares in his Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, “the precepts of the law rest on eternal foundations” – to which he adds, “and thus, the fundamental maxim of a republic, that it is a government of laws, and not of men.”

This being so, the judiciary’s duty, he said, was to act as a check in favor of upholding those eternal foundations against the democratic winds that often blow and upon those “favorites of the day” in either the legislative, or executive departments, who “overawe by their power, or seduce by their influence,” to usurp power to themselves, or otherwise subvert the laws and liberties of the people, whether intentionally or not.

Source: Joseph Story. Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, Volume III, Chapter 38, Judiciary: Organization and Powers

Liberty Letters are researched, compiled, and edited (with occasional commentary) by Steve Farrell, Founder and Editor In Chief of Self-Educated American.

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