CONGRATULATIONS CLASS OF 2011"Regulations as the Congress shall make." This power of Congress has rarely been exercised, except to refine the procedures for obtaining Court review of lower court decisions; over the years the trend has been for Congress to allow the Court maximum discretion in deciding whether to accept or reject a case. Of course, the very concept of Congress "allowing" the Court such discretion only reinforces that phrase in Section 2: ". . . supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make." The Court is still beholden to Congress as to what cases it may hear, and under what set of regulations that elected body of representatives drafts and approves. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution, is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents. Nor does this conclusion by any means suppose a superiority of the judicial to the legislative power . It only supposes that the power of the people is superior to both; and that where the will of the legislature, declared in its statutes, stands in opposition to that of the people, declared in the Constitution, the judges ought to be governed by the latter rather than the former. They ought to regulate their decisions by the fundamental laws, rather than by those which are not fundamental. It can be of no weight to say that the courts, on the pretense of a repugnancy, may substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the legislature . This might as well happen in the case of two contradictory statutes; or it might as well happen in every adjudication upon any single statute. The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body . The observation, if it prove any thing, would prove that there ought to be no judges distinct from that body.
mandanus | brief | addendum | in forma pauperis | incidental mandamus