Thomas Jefferson: “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions … is a very dangerous doctrine indeed”

Worth pondering especially on this day.

Dover Beach

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“To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions … [is] a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so . . . and their power [is] the more dangerous, as they are in office for life and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots”

– President Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to William Jarvis, Sept. 28, 1820

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