Page:The Green Bag (1889–1914), Volume 25.pdf/238

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


The Supreme Court and Us Slanderers upon the states to call at once ext. a sessions of their legislatures or conven tions to adopt or reject the necessary amendment. Eighteen years have passed, and an amendment has just been adopted, although the people under the Constitution could adopt one in eight months or less if they had so willed. When the Supreme Court held that a private citizen might sue a sovereign state, Congress proposed an amend ment denying that right, and it was adopted in less than three years. The thirteenth and fourteenth amendments were adopted in nine months each, and the twelfth in eight months. It is thus seen that our Constitution, if a majority of the people will it, may be easily amended. If complaint is made that less than two-thirds of Congress should have a right to propose amend ments, then cure that by amending the Constitution in that respect. Such an amendment has been recently intro duced. Do the people want it? They have the opportunity. In "striking down" the acts of Con gress, the court is not making a law. They are simply declaring that the will of the people, as expressed in the Con stitution, is superior to the will of Con gress. If that were not so, then the will of Congress would be supreme over the people, and if that principle is once established in this country, Con gress can without reference to the will of the people change our form of govern ment, at its option, making our govern ment a monarchy, set up an hereditary king, make itself perpetual, and bestow

Fort Smith, Ark.

221

the same power upon the heirs of the present members. This is not fanciful. It has been done in the past, and would be done in the future, if such power is given. Courts are the people's agents, to check this unlawful assumption of power. They cannot make laws. Their only power is to declare the law, decid ing what is and what is not law. If it is the purpose of these agitators who are enemies of the Constitution, to ask the people of the United States to amend the Constitution, and take from the courts the power to declare an act of Congress void, they should be candid and frank enough to treat the subject fairly. They should not attempt to falsify history by alleging that no such power was ever known or ever existed prior to 1787. They should not make the false assertion that the court for the first time assumed this power in 1803. In pursuance of this same system of misrepresentation, these same agitators frequently assert that this power to declare a legislative act void exists today only in the United States. It is inconceivable that the public men who make that assertion could be ignorant of the existence of such a power in the courts of Australia. Australia is a wide awake, progressive nation that has accomplished wonders in modern gov ernment. That country has in substance the same judicial system as that of the United States. The courts of that country adhere strictly to the Consti tution, delaring legislative acts void when in conflict with that Constitu tion.