Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Sampling of Some Quotes about the U.S. Constitution from History

A Sampling of Some
Quotes about the U.S.
Constitution from History

Quotes Source:

The following is a sampling of some quotes from history which make some very important points about the principles of constitutional republican government:

1. The Constitution was written to be understood by the voters; its words and phrases were used in their normal and ordinary, as distinguished from technical meaning; where the intention is clear, there is no room for construction, and no excuse for interpolation or addition. — Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 1 Wheat 304; Gibbons v. Ogden, 9 Wheat 419; Brown v. Maryland, 12 Wheat 419; Craig v. Missouri, 4 Pet 10; Tennessee v. Whitworth, 117 U.S. 139; Lake County v. Rollins, 130 U.S. 662; Hodges v. United States, 203 U.S. 1; Edwards v. Cuba R. Co., 268 U.S. 628; The Pocket Veto Case, 279 U.S. 655; (Justice) Story on the Constitution, 5th ed., Sec 451; Cooley's Constitutional Limitations, 2nd ed., p. 61, 70.

2. It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect;... — Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 174 (1803).

3. The Constitution is a written instrument. As such, its meaning does not alter. That which it meant when it was adopted, it means now. — South Carolina v. United States, 199 U.S. 437, 448 (1905).

4. In the United States, Sovereignty resides in the people, who act through the organs established by the Constitution. — Chisholm v. Georgia, 2 Dall 419, 471; Penhallow v. Doane's Administrators, 3 Dall 54, 93; McCullock v. Maryland, 4 Wheat 316, 404, 405; Yick Yo Hopkins, 118 U.S. 356, 370.

5. The necessities which gave birth to the constitution, the controversies which precede its formation and the conflicts of opinion which were settled by its adoption, may properly be taken into view for the purposes of tracing to its source, any particular provision of the constitution, in order thereby, to be enabled to correctly interpret its meaning. — Pollock v. Farmers' Loan & Trust Co., 157 U.S. 429, 558.

6. The values of the Framers of the Constitution must be applied in any case construing the Constitution. Inferences from the text and history of the Constitution should be given great weight in discerning the original understanding and in determining the intentions of those who ratified the constitution. The precedential value of cases and commentators tends to increase, therefore, in proportion to their proximity to the adoption of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any other amendments. — Powell v. McCormack, 395 U.S. 486, 547 (1969).

7. To disregard such a deliberate choice of words and their natural meaning, would be a departure from the first principle of constitutional interpretation. "In expounding the Constitution of the United States," said Chief Justice Taney in Holmes v. Jennison, 14 U.S. 540, 570-1, "every word must have its due force and appropriate meaning; for it is evident from the whole instrument, that, no word was unnecessarily used, or needlessly added. The many discussions which have taken place upon the construction of the Constitution, have proved the correctness of this proposition; and shown the high talent, the caution and the foresight of the illustrious men who framed it. Every word appears to have been weighed with the utmost deliberation and its force and effect to have been fully understood. — Wright v. United States, 302 U.S. 583 (1938).

8. The courts are not bound by mere forms, nor are they to be misled by mere pretences. They are at liberty — indeed, are under a solemn duty — to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If therefore, a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is a palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of thye courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution. — Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 661.

9. Constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. It is the duty of the courts to be watchful of constitutional rights against any stealthy encroachments thereon. — Boyd v. U.S., 116 U.S. 635.

10. It cannot be assumed that the framers of the constitution and the people who adopted it, did not intend that which is the plain import of the language used. When the language of the constitution is positive and free of all ambiguity, all courts are not at liberty, by a resort to the refinements of legal learning, to restrict its obvious meaning to avoid the hardships of particular cases. We must accept the constitution as it reads when its language is unambiguous, for it is the mandate of the sovereign power. — Cook vs. Iverson, 122, N.M. 251.

11. Where the words of a constitution are unambiguous and in their commonly received sense lead to a reasonable conclusion, it should be read according to the natural and most obvious import of the framers, without resorting to subtle and forced construction for the purpose of limiting or extending its operation. — A State Ex Rel. Torryson v. Grey, 21 Nev. 378, 32 P. 190.

12. If the legislature clearly misinterprets a constitutional provision, the frequent repitition of the wrong will not create a right. — Amos v. Mosley, 74 Fla. 555; 77 So. 619.

13. A long and uniform sanction by law revisers and lawmakers, of a legislative assertion and exercise of power, is entitled to a great weight in construing an ambiguous or doubtful provision, but is entitled to no weight if the statute in question is in conflict with the plain meaning of the constitutional provision. — Kingsley v. Merril, 122 Wis. 185; 99 NW 1044.

14. Economic necessity cannot justify a disregard of cardinal constitutional guarantee. — Riley v. Carter, 165 Okal. 262; 25 P. 2d 666; 79 ALR 1018.

15. Disobedience or evasion of a constitutional mandate may not be tolerated, even though such disobedience may, at least temporarily, promote in some respects the best interests of the public. — State v. Board of Examiners, 274 N.Y. 367; 9 NE 2d 12; 112 ALR 660.

16. When any court violates the clean and unambiguous language of the Constitution, a fraud is perpetrated and no one is bound to obey it. — (See 16 Ma. Jur. 2d 177, 178) State v. Sutton, 63 Minn. 147, 65 NW 262, 30 L.R.A. 630 Am. St. 459.

17. I cannot subscribe to the omnipotence of a state legislature, or that it is absolute and without control; although its authority should not be expressly restrained by the Constitution, or fundamental law, of the state. The nature, and ends of legislative power will limit the exercise of it. This fundamental principle flows from the very nature of our free Republican governments, that no man should be compelled to do what the laws do not require, nor to refrain from acts which the laws permit. There are acts which the Federal, or State, Legislature cannot do, without exceeding their authority. There are certain vital principles in our free Republican governments, which will determine and overrule an apparent and flagrant abuse of legislative power; as to authorize manifest injustice by positive law; or to take away that security for personal liberty, or private property, for the protection whereof the government was established. An Act of the legislature (for I cannot call it a law) contrary to the great first principles of the social compact, cannot be considered a rightful exercise of legislative authority. The obligation of a law in governments established on express compact, and on republican principles, must be determined by the nature of the power, on which it is founded. A few instances will suffice to explain what I mean. A law that punishes a citizen for an innocent action, or, in other words, for an act, which, when done, was in violation of no existing law; a law that destroys, or impairs, the lawful private contracts of citizens; a law that makes a man a judge in his own cause; or a law that takes property from A and gives it to B. It is against all reason and justice for a people to intrust a Legislature with such powers; and, therefore, it cannot be presumed that they have done it. The genius, the nature and the spirit, of our State Government, amount to a prohibition of such acts of legislation; and the general principles of law and reason forbid them. The legislature may enjoin, permit, forbid, and punish; they may declare new crimes, and establish rules of conduct for all its citizens in future cases; they may command what is right, and prohibit what is wrong; but they cannot change innocence into guilt; or punish innocence as a crime; or violate the right of an antecedent lawful private contract; or the right of private property. To maintain that our Federal, or State, Legislature possesses such powers, if they had not been expressly restrained, would, in my opinion, be a political heresy altogether inadmissible in our free republican governments. — Opinion of Justice Chase in Calder v. Bull, 3 Dallas 386-389 (1798).


Posted by:
CDR Charles Kerchner (Ret)
Pennsylvania USA
Lead Plaintiff
Kerchner et al v Obama/Congress/Pelosi et al


Dixhistory said...

If we could only get out elected and appointed people to read these as well as that which they swore an oath to uphold we would not need the services of Charles and Mario.

Since the above is just not going to happen.

Thank you God for giving us Citizens such as these that will stay the course.

Anonymous said...

Obamatons hammer away at 'place of birth' being rooted in English common law, also citing the Case of Mr. Smith (James Madison) and Wong Kim Ark.

Your case law quotes emphasize constructive interpretation requiring keeping contemporaneous with the founders, and framers through the 14th Amendment. U.S. citizenship of the father was integral to 'natural born' citizenship, as was the lack of foreign allegiance for parents of 14th Amendment citizens or nationals at birth.

As for English Law, let us not forget that only the Plenary Power of the King could declare an alien, or his children, subjects.

Lacking 'ties of nature' from an allegiant father, both Madison (Smith) and Justice Gray (Ark) were forced to rely on legal settlement/domicile of the non-citizen parents. Jus Solis was not a 'prime' principle, but a contingency when lacking Jus Sanguinis.

English law is rooted in Roman law, and the Romans relied on jus sanguinis.

Obama was born the son of a British subject . . . hardly the intent of John Jay and the other founding fathers for a president.

Mick said...

Here's another:
Federalist #68 (Alexander Hamilton)

"Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one querter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union?"

Obama is clearly not a "creature of our own".

Michael said...

Mario & Charles.

Here is a link to a potential source of important historic documents, etc.

" ..... judges, and scholars have been paying more and more attention to evidence outside the standard sources. Herbert Storing’s The Complete Anti-Federalist was published in 1981. It is a collection of the long-neglected arguments against the Constitution. The Wisconsin Historical Society has been issuing its multi-volume Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution. The National Historical Publications and Records Commission and George Washington University have sponsored the Documentary History of the First Federal Congress. Dedicated people, such as Texas attorney Jon Roland ( have posted on the Internet hundreds of documents previously accessible only in top academic libraries. The Gale Company’s Eighteenth Century Online database now makes available much of the Founders’ literary world, enabling you to find dozens, sometimes thousands, of word usages in a few seconds.

In writing this book, I have had the advantage of all those sources.

Rob Natelson is a recently-retired Professor of Law at the University of Montana and a leading constitutional scholar. He is co-author of a forthcoming book on the Necessary and Proper Clause to be published by Cambridge University Press. He is also the author of The Original Constitution: What it Actually Said and Meant, published by the Tenth Amendment Center. Professor Natelson is a Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence at the Independence Institute."