Page:Review of the Proclamation of President Jackson.djvu/110
A REVIEW OF THE
plained of, may be an act, which, although palpably wrong, may not require the agency of any individual; or although wantonly oppressive and cruelly unjust upon all the inhabitants of a State, may nevertheless, like every common nuisance, be injurious to no one of them in particular, and therefore would be an act not to be redressed in any private suit. Suppose for example, Congress should pass a law giving a preference to the ports of one State over those of another, which they are expressly forbidden to do in the very terms of the Constitution itself; what Individual could sue, or what Individual might he implead, for the perpetration of an act so ruinous to the injured State?
Even in cases where the Courts might take cognizance of the act done, because done by some Individual to some other Individual, the judgement in such a case could bind none but the parties to the suit. It would not repeal the unconstitutional act; and might not even furnish any compensation to the Individual injured. — Some agent of the law-makers in execution of their orders, which are in direct violation of the Constitution, does me a great injury. I sue him. The court agrees with me, that the act was lawless and unauthorized.
The jury awards an amount of damages to me as a just compensation for the wrong I have sustained. The Court gives me a judgement against him for that sum. But the agent is insolvent or runs away, and I cannot get the intended compensation. Will any one say, that the Court can compel those by whose orders the wicked deed was done, and to test whose authority for directing it to be done, the suit was brought, to pay me? Certainly not. I may petition them to do so, but if they reject my petition, the arm of the Judiciary is impotent to obtain for me the relief to which the Court itself has said I was entitled — even if the judgement proves efficacious in my case, that judgement cannot prevent the perpetration of a similar outrage upon me or my neighbour the next day, under the same usurped authority.
The judgement does not repeal the law, but declares simply, that it constitutes no defence to the defendant in the particular case brought before the Court by the parties then litigant therein. So that until the Legislature will be graciously pleased to repeal their law, every Individual of the State, may be compelled to go