I always said that in a country where a legislature, its sessions limited by statute, could alter reality by turning back the clock (I actually saw this done, once, with a long pole pushing on the hour hand), any travesty was possible. I see nothing lately to prove me wrong.
The Constitution . . . meant that its coordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action but for the legislature and Executive also in their spheres, would make the Judiciary a despotic branch.thomas jefferson
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
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.1846 On the repeal of the Corn Laws, House of Commons, 15 May.
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
No man's life, liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.Final accounting in the Estate of A.B. (1866) 
Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between church and State.thomas jefferson
Whether a law be void for its repugnancy to the Constitution, is, at all times, a question of much delicacy, which out seldom, if ever, to be decided in the affirmative, in doubtful case. ... But it is not on slight implication and vague conjecture that the legislature is to be pronounced to have transcended its powers, and its acts to be considered as void. The opposition between the Constitution and the law should be such that the judge feels a clear and strong conviction of their incompatibility with each other.john marshall
When counsel addresses an argument on the ground of natural justice to a Court of law, he addresses it to the wrong tribunal. It may be a good argument for inducing the legislature to alter the law; but in a Court of law all that we can deal with is the law of the land as we find it.North, J., In re Gregson (1887), L. J. 57 C. D. 223.
The way to secure liberty is to place it in the people's hands, that is, to give them the power at all times to defend it in the legislature and in the courts of justice .John Adams , in The New-York magazine; or, Literary repository, p.85
In effect, to follow, not to force the public inclination; to give a direction, a form, a technical dress, and a specific sanction, to the general sense of the community , is the true end of legislature.Edmund Burke, in Political Representation in the Later Middle Ages: Marsilius in Context, p.17
When a legislature undertakes to proscribe the exercise of a citizen 's constitutional rights it acts lawlessly and the citizen can take matters into his own hands and proceed on the basis that such a law is no law at all.William Orville Douglas, in The Supreme Court and Religion in American Life, Vol. 1: The Odyssey of the ..., p.52
If the function of this Court is to be essentially no different from that of a legislature, if the considerations governing constitutional construction are to be substantially those that underlie legislation, then indeed judges should not have life .Felix Frankfurter, in Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and ..., p.58
Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature.Kin Hubbard, in Marching To Zion, p.52
It is for the legislature to alter the law if Parliament in its wisdom thinks an alteration desirable.Lord Macnaghten, Hamilton v. Baker, "The Sara" (1889), L. R. 14 Ap. Ca. 227.
To abolish a well-established rule of law because it is a bad rule, is the business of the legislature.Stephen, J., Reg. v. Coney and others (1882), 15 Cox, C. C. 59.
What the legislature has not expressly enacted, the Judges ought not to presume that it intended.Lord Chelmsford, Mordaunt v. Moncreiffe (1874), L. R. 2 Sc. & D. 387.
Acts of Parliament are the works of the legislature, and the publication of them has always belonged to the King, as the Executive Part, and as the Head and Sovereign.Lord Mansfield, Millar v. Taylor (1768), 4 Burr. Part IV. 2404.
There are two ways of construing an Act of Parliament one to extend it to every case reasonably within its operation, and the other to lay hold of every expression to limit and curtail the intention of the legislature.Sir John Stuart, V.-C, In re Warner and Powell's Arbitration (1866), L. R. 3 Eq. Ca. 266.
We must give effect to the plain language of the legislature, according to the fair interpretation of the words of the Act.Abbott, C.J., Baildon v. Pitter (1819), 1 Chit. Rep. 639.
The legislature have anxiously provided for those most useful and deserving body of men, the seamen and marines of this country.Lord Kenyon, C.J., Turtle v. Hartwell (1795), 6 T. R. 429.
"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
It was in old days, with our learned men, an interesting and oft-investigated question, "What is the origin of light?" and the solution of it has been repeatedly attempted, with no other result than to crowd our lunatic asylums with the would-be solvers. Hence, after fruitless attempts to suppress such investigations indirectly by making them liable to a heavy tax, the legislature, in comparatively recent times, absolutely prohibited them.edwin abbot
Courts are the mere instruments of the law, and can will nothing. When they are said to exercise a discretion, it is a mere legal discretion, a discretion to be exercised in discerning the course prescribed by law; and, when that is discerned, it is the duty of the Court to follow it. Judicial power is never exericised for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the Judge; always for the purpose of giving effect to the will of the legislature; or, in other words, to the will of the law.john marshall
It appears to me to be the duty of every Court, whether a Court of equity or a Court of law, to give effect to the plain meaning of the legislature, whatever may be the views entertained of its policy or applicability in particular cases.Sir W. M. James, V.-C, Daun v. City of London Brewery Co. (1869), L. R. 8 Eq. Ca. 161.
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