Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/192

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upon this system the judicial censureship which is exercised by the courts of justice over the legislation cannot extend to all laws indistinctly, in as much as some of them can never give rise to that exact species of contestation which is termed a lawsuit; and even when such a contestation is possible, it may happen that no one cares to bring it before a court of justice. The Americans have often felt this disadvantage, but they have left the remedy incomplete, lest they should give it an efficacy which might in some cases prove dangerous. Within these limits, the power vested in the American courts of justice of pronouncing a statute to be unconstitutional, forms one of the most powerful barriers which has ever been devised against the tyranny of political assemblies.


In the United States all the citizens have the right of indicting the public functionaries before the ordinary tribunals.—How they use this right.—Art. 75. of the French Constitution of the An VIII.—The Americans and the English cannot understand the purport of this clause.

It is perfectly natural that in a free country like America all the citizens should have the right of indicting public functionaries before the ordinary tribunals, and that all the judges should have the power of punishing public offences. The right granted to the courts of justice of judging the