If the roads, the railways, the banks, the insurance offices, the great joint-stockcompanies, the universities, and the public charities, were all of them branches of government; if, in addition, the municipal corporations and local boards, with all that now devolves on them, became departments of the central administration; if the employees of all these different enterprises were appointed and paid by the government, and looked to the government for every rise in life; not all the freedom of the press and popular constitution of the legislature would make this or any other country free otherwise than in name.john stuart mill: 1859 On Liberty.
Like all other contracts, wages should be left to the fair and free competition of themarket, and should never be controlled by the interference of the legislature.David Ricardo: 1817 Principles of Political Economy andTaxation.
I am sure that the immediate abolition of the slave trade is the first, the principal, the most indispensable act of policy, of dutyand of justice the legislature of this country has to take, if it is indeed their wish to secure those important objects For we continue to this hour a barbarous traffic in slaves, we continue it even yet, in spite of all our great and undeniable pretensions as civilisation.William known as theYounger Pitt: 1792 Speech to the House of Commons, 2 Apr.The House did not abolish slavery until1806.
During my tenure of power, myearnest wish has beento impress the people of this country with a belief that the legislature was animated bya sincere desire to frame its legislation upon the principles of equity and justice Deprive me of power tomorrow, but you can never deprive me of the consciousness that I have exercised the powers committed to me from no corrupt or interested motives, from no desire to gratifyambition, or to attain any personal object.Sir Robert Peel: 1846 On the repeal of the Corn Laws, House of Commons, 15 May.
Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist. But if unlimited or unbalanced power of disposing property, be put into the hands of those who have no property, France will find, as we have found, the lamb committed to the custody of the wolf. In such a case, all the pathetic exhortations and addresses of the national assembly to the people, to respect property, will be regarded no more than the warbles of the songsters of the forest. The great art of law-giving consists in balancing the poor against the rich in the legislature, and in constituting the legislative a perfect balance against the executive power, at the same time that no individual or party can become its rival. The essence of a free government consists in an effectual control of rivalries. The executive and the legislative powers are natural rivals; and if each has not an effectual control over the other, the weaker will ever be the lamb in the paws of the wolf. The nation which will not adopt an equilibrium of power must adopt a despotism. There is no other alternative. Rivalries must be controlled, or they will throw all things into confusion; and there is nothing but despotism or a balance of power which can control them.john adams: No. 13 (Discourses on Davila (1790))
And that the said Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press, or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms; or to raise standing armies, unless necessary for the defense of the United States, or of some one or more of them; or to prevent the people from petitioning, in a peaceable and orderly manner, the federal legislature, for a redress of grievances; or to subject the people to unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons, papers or possessions.Samuel Adams: Debates of the Massachusetts Convention of 1788
The primary function of a constitution was to mark out the boundaries of governmental powers-hence in England, where there was no constitution , there were no limits (save for the effect of trail by jury) to what the legislature might do.bernard bailyn: Chapter V, TRANSFORMATION, p. 182
The Biblical view of the law, the courts, and the state is profoundly radical. The Bible looks upon the state as a kind of rebellious artifice; it is spurious, a human creation in rebellion against God.In the Old Testament, when the first state is proposed in the person of Saul, the first King of Israel, God tells the prophet Samuel that this project spells rejection of God. The state and its legislature are in rebellion against, or rejection of, God. Its courts are a human fabrication, cannot promote justice and peace; they are founded in violence, and legalize violence.The state holds together through police power, against the citizenry.The state, conceived in violence, and backed by violence, will never achieve true peace.philip berrigan: Fighting the Lamb's War: Skirmishes with the American Empire (1996), p.202
We have erased segregation in those areas of national life to which Federal authority clearly extends. So doing in this, my friends, we have neither sought nor claimed partisan credit, and all such actions are nothing more -- nothing less than the rendering of justice. And we have always been aware of this great truth: the final battle against intolerance is to be fought -- not in the chambers of any legislature -- but in the hearts of men.dwight d. eisenhower: Address at the Hollywood Bowl (19 October 1956).
Finally, it should also be noted that the very existence of a bicameral legislature is itself another defence of the status quo.thomas flanagan: Chapter 8, Staying Power of the Status Quo, p. 138
The danger is perhaps not great if the people of one State, through their legislature, decide that Lady Chatterley's Lover goes so far beyond the acceptable standards of candor that it will be deemed offensive and non-sellable, for the State next door is still free to make its own choice. At least we do not have one uniform standard. But the dangers to free thought and expression are truly great if the Federal Government imposes a blanket ban over the Nation on such a book. [...] The fact that the people of one State cannot read some of the works of D. H. Lawrence seems to me, if not wise or desirable, at least acceptable. But that no person in the United States should be allowed to do so seems to me to be intolerable, and violative of both the letter and spirit of the First Amendment.harlan, john marshall, ii: Concurring in Roth v. United States, 354 U.S. 476, 496 (1957) (striking down a federal censorship act as unconstitutional).
Now an' then an innocent man is sent t' th' legislature.kin hubbard: Back Country Folks (1914)
The military forces of a free country may be considered under three general descriptions — 1. The militia. 2. the navy — and 3. the regular troops — and the whole ought ever to be, and understood to be, in strict subordination to the civil authority; and that regular troops, and select corps, ought not to be kept up without evident necessity. Stipulations in the constitution to this effect, are perhaps, too general to be of much service, except merely to impress on the minds of the people and soldiery, that the military ought ever to be subject to the civil authority, &c. But particular attention, and many more definite stipulations, are highly necessary to render the military safe, and yet useful in a free government; and in a federal republic, where the people meet in distinct assemblies, many stipulations are necessary to keep a part from transgressing, which would be unnecessary checks against the whole met in one legislature, in one entire government. — A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves, and render regular troops in a great measure unnecessary. The powers to form and arm the militia, to appoint their officers, and to command their services, are very important; nor ought they in a confederated republic to be lodged, solely, in any one member of the government. First, the constitution ought to secure a genuine and guard against a select militia, by providing that the militia shall always be kept well organized, armed, and disciplined, and include, according to the past and general usuage of the states, all men capable of bearing arms; and that all regulations tending to render this general militia useless and defenceless, by establishing select corps of militia, or distinct bodies of military men, not having permanent interests and attachments in the community to be avoided. I am persuaded, I need not multiply words to convince you of the value and solidity of this principle, as it respects general liberty, and the duration of a free and mild government: having this principle well fixed by the constitution, then the federal head may prescribe a general uniform plan, on which the respective states shall form and train the militia, appoint their officers and solely manage them, except when called into the service of the union, and when called into that service, they may be commanded and governed by the union. This arrangement combines energy and safety in it; it places the sword in the hands of the solid interest of the community, and not in the hands of men destitute of property, of principle, or of attachment to the society and government, who often form the select corps of peace or ordinary establishments: by it, the militia are the people, immediately under the management of the state governments, but on a uniform federal plan, and called into the service, command, and government of the union, when necessary for the common defence and general tranquility. But, say gentlemen, the general militia are for the most part employed at home in their private concerns, cannot well be called out, or be depended upon; that we must have a select militia; that is, as I understand it, particular corps or bodies of young men, and of men who have but little to do at home, particularly armed and disciplined in some measure, at the public expence, and always ready to take the field. These corps, not much unlike regular troops, will ever produce an inattention to the general militia; and the consequence has ever been, and always must be, that the substantial men, having families and property, will generally be without arms, without knowing the use of them, and defenceless; whereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail, no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it. As a farther check, it may be proper to add, that the militia of any state shall not remain in the service of the union, beyond a given period, without the express consent of the state legislature.richard henry lee: Additional Letters From The Federal Farmer, 169 (1788)
Roe v. Wade was wrong because it 'usurped the power of the legislatures,' Bush said. 'I felt like it was a case where the court took the place of what legislatures should do in America,' he said. But Bush refused to say how he felt each state should act. Instead, he said that when it comes to legalizing abortion, 'it should be up to each legislature.'George W. Bush, Boston Globe, p. A12 (Jan 22, 2000).
The legislature of the United States shall pass no law on the subject of religion nor touching or abridging the liberty of the press.charles cotesworth pinckney: Resolution offered in the Philadelphia Convention, May 29, 1787. The United States Constitution was enacted without any protection for religion or the press, but with the understanding that a Bill of Rights would shortly be enacted to address these concerns.
"The opinion of the Court, after mature deliberation, is that this is a contract, the obligation of which cannot be impaired without violating the Constitution of the United States. ... It results from this opinion that the acts of the legislature of New Hampshire, which are stated in the special verdict found in this cause, are repugnant to the Constitution of the United States"John Marshall, Chief Justice, Dartmouth College v. Woodward, 1819
"During the next legislature, we will aim for full employment in Spain."josé luis rodríguez zapatero: Debate on the State of the Nation, 3rd July 2007
Drawing a comparison to football, it could be said that the Spanish economy has, during this legislature, into the Champions League of the world economy, however bad that may seem to some."josé luis rodríguez zapatero: 11th Sept. 2007, during a speech by the PSOE in the Congress of Deputies.
The man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it. He goes on to establish it completely and in all its parts, without any regard either to the great interests, or to the strong prejudices which may oppose it. He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might choose to impress upon it. If those two principles coincide and act in the same direction, the game of human society will go on easily and harmoniously, and is very likely to be happy and successful. If they are opposite or different, the game will go on miserably, and the society must be at all times in the highest degree of disorder.Adam Smith: Section II, Chap. II
Whenever the legislature attempts to regulate the differences between masters and their workmen, its counsellors are always the masters. When the regulation, therefore, is in favor of the workmen, it is always just and equitable; but it is sometimes otherwise when in favor of the masters.Adam Smith: Chapter x, Part II, p. 168
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.Final accounting in the Estate of A.B. (1866) 
Public opinion is stronger than the legislature, and nearly as strong as the Ten Commandments.charles dudley warner: Sixteenth Week
The 19th of May, 1780, was a remarkable day. Candles were lighted in many houses; the birds were silent and disappeared, and the fowls retired to roost. The legislature of Connecticut was then in session at Hartford. A very general opinion prevailed, that the day of judgment was at hand. The house of Representatives, being unable to transact their business, adjourned. A proposal to adjourn the Council was under consideration. When the opinion of Colonel Davenport was asked, he answered, "I am against an adjournment. The day of judgment is either approaching, or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause of an adjournment: if it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish therefore that candles may be brought."Timothy Dwight, in Connecticut Historical Collectons 2d ed (1836) compiled by John Warner Barber, p. 403
In their desire to check dishonest and reckless trading Courts must be careful not to put tighter fetters on companies than the Legislature has authorised.Lindley, J., Verner v. General and Commercial Investment Trust (1894), L. R. 2 Ch. 267.
With us, our Priests are Administrators of all Business, Art, and Science; Directors of Trade, Commerce, Generalship, Architecture, Engineering, Education, Statesmanship, Legislature, Morality, Theology; doing nothing themselves, they are the Causes of everything worth doing, that is done by others. Although popularly everyone called a Circle is deemed a Circle, yet among the better educated Classes it is known that no Circle is really a Circle, but only a Polygon with a very large number of very small sides. As the number of the sides increases, a Polygon approximates to a Circle; and, when the number is very great indeed, say for example three or four hundred, it is extremely difficult for the most delicate touch to feel any polygonal angles. Let me say rather, it WOULD be difficult: for, as I have shown above, Recognition by Feeling is unknown among the highest society, and to FEEL a Circle would be considered a most audacious insult. This habit of abstention from Feeling in the best society enables a Circle the more easily to sustain the veil of mystery in which, from his earliest years, he is wont to enwrap the exact nature of his Perimeter or Circumference.edwin abbot: Chapter 11. Concerning our Priests