Page:Federalist, Dawson edition, 1863.djvu/707

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563
The Fœderalist.

the supposition of those who have represented the plan of the Convention, in this respect, as novel and unprecedented, it is but a copy of the Constitutions of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia; and the preference which has been given to those models is highly to be commended.

It is not true, in the second place, that the Parliament of Great Britain, or the Legislatures of the particular States, can rectify the exceptionable decisions of their respective Courts, in any other sense than might be done by a future Legislature of the United States. The theory, neither of the British, nor the State Constitutions, authorizes the revisal of a Judicial sentence by a Legislative act. Nor is there anything in the proposed Constitution, more than in either of them, by which it is forbidden. In the former, as well as in the latter, the impropriety of the thing, on the general principles of law and reason, is the sole obstacle. A Legislature, without exceeding its province, cannot reverse a determination once made in a particular case; though it may prescribe a new rule for future cases. This is the principle, and it applies in all its consequences, exactly in the same manner and extent, to the State Governments, as to the National Government now under consideration. Not the least difference can be pointed out in any view of the subject.

It may in the last place be observed, that the supposed danger of Judiciary encroachments on the Legislative authority, which has been upon many occasions reiterated, is in reality a phantom. Particular misconstructions and contraventions of the will of the Legislature, may now and then happen; but they can never be so extensive as to amount to an inconvenience, or in any sensible degree to affect the order of the political system. This may be inferred with certainty, from the general