James Iredell

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It would be not only useless, but dangerous, to enumerate a number of rights which are not intended to be given up; because it would be implying, in the strongest manner, that every right not included in the exception might be impaired by the government without usurption; and it would be impossible to enumerate every one.

James Iredell (5 October 175120 October 1799) was one of the original Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was appointed by President George Washington and served from 1790 until his death in 1799.

Quotes[edit]

North Carolina's Debates, in Convention, on the adoption of the Federal Constitution (1787)[edit]

Reported in The Debates, Resolutions, and other Proceedings, in Convention, on the adoption of the Federal Constitution, as recommended by the General Convention at Philadelphia, on the 17th of September, 1787 (1830), edited by Jonathan Elliot.

  • The power of impeachment is given by this Constitution, to bring great offenders to punishment. It is calculated to bring them to punishment for crimes which it is not easy to describe, but which every one must be convinced is a high crime and misdemeanor against the government.
    • July 28, 1788, p. 107.
  • It would be not only useless, but dangerous, to enumerate a number of rights which are not intended to be given up; because it would be implying, in the strongest manner, that every right not included in the exception might be impaired by the government without usurption; and it would be impossible to enumerate every one. Let any one make what collection or enumeration of rights he pleases, I will immediately mention twenty or thirty more rights not contained in it.
    • July 28, 1788, p. 150.
  • Had Congress undertaken to guarantee religious freedom, or any particular species of it, they would then have had a pretense to interfere in a subject they have nothing to do with. Each state, so far as the clause in question does not interfere, must be left to the operation of its own principles.
    • July 30, 1788, p. 172.
  • If any act of Congress, or of the Legislature of a state, violates those constitutional provisions, it is unquestionably void; though, I admit, that as the authority to declare it void is of a delicate and awful nature, the Court will never resort to that authority, but in a clear and urgent case. If, on the other hand, the Legislature of the Union, or the Legislature of any member of the Union, shall pass a law, within the general scope of their constitutional power, the Court cannot pronounce it to be void, merely because it is, in their judgment, contrary to the principles of natural justice. The ideas of natural justice are regulated by no fixed standard: the ablest and the purest men have differed upon the subject; and all that the Court could properly say, in such an event, would be, that the Legislature (possessed of an equal right of opinion) had passed an act which, in the opinion of the judges, was inconsistent with the abstract principles of natural justice.
    • Calder v. Bull, 1798

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