[Marxism] Originalist Alexander Hamilton on an independent judiciary
Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Thu Oct 6 22:32:53 MDT 2005
The following Hamilton quote is from an essay on the veto power of the
president. The reasoning supporting the importance of an independent
judiciary reflects his ideas about the judiciary and its role under the
proposed constitution with its unique separation of powers. Of course,
the purpose of the separation of powers is intentionally reactionary.
In various passages of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton and Madison
openly discuss the importance of curbing any momentary enthusiasm by
the representatives of the people though the structure of Senate, the
Presidency and the judiciary.
However, the selection below represents a refreshing idealism,
appropriate to a new nation and the creation of a republican form of
government. The reasoning is comparable to the naîve creation of what
has become known as the "electoral college," which was expected to be a
selection of highly qualified men who would sit down and help choose
the best person possible as president of the United States.
Here Hamilton reflects the common view at the time that the judiciary
should be made up of legal thinkers, who are independent of the
influence of both the legislature and the executive. I have added a
couple of perhaps unnecessary brackets to clarify the references. The
expression "this part of their plan" refers to the executive power of
provisionally vetoing acts of congress.
"I have in another place remarked, that the [constitutional]
convention, in the formation of this part of their plan, had departed
from the model of the constitution of [New York] State, in favor of
that of Massachusetts. Two strong reasons may be imagined for this
preference. One is that the judges, who are to be the interpreters of
the law, might receive an improper bias, from having given a previous
opinion in their revisionary capacities; the other is that by being
often associated with the Executive, they might be induced to embark
too far in the political views of that magistrate, and thus a dangerous
combination might by degrees be cemented between the executive and
judiciary departments. It is impossible to keep the judges too distinct
from every other avocation than that of expounding the laws. It is
peculiarly dangerous to place them in a situation to be either
corrupted or influenced by the Executive."
— Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist No. 74
More information about the Marxism