Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/259

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dubious; by a rule which was certain, and a rule which was arbitrary. It is true the Constitution had laid down the precise limits of the Federal supremacy, but whenever this supremacy is contested by one of the States, a Federal tribunal decides the question. Nevertheless, the dangers with which the independence of the States was threatened by this mode of proceeding are less serious than they appeared to be. We shall see hereafter that in America the real strength of the country is vested in the provincial far more than in the Federal Government. The Federal judges are conscious of the relative weakness of the power in whose name they act, and they are more inclined to abandon a right of jurisdiction in cases where it is justly their own, than to assert a privilege to which they have no legal claim.


The matter and the party are the first conditions of the Federal jurisdiction.—Suits in which ambassadors are engaged.—Suits of the Union.—Of a separate State.—By whom tried.—Causes resulting from the laws of the Union.—Why judged by the Federal tribunals.—Causes relating to the non-performance of contracts tried by the Federal courts.—Consequences of this arrangement.

After having appointed the means of fixing the competency of the Federal courts, the legislators of the Union defined the cases which should come with-

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