Opinion of the Court
(1983) (Powell, J., concurring). "The period 1780-1787 . . . was a period of 'constitutional reaction' " to these developments, "which . . . leaped suddenly to its climax in the Philadelphia Convention." E. Corwin, The Doctrine of Judicial Review 37 (1914). Voices from many quarters, official as well as private, decried the increasing legislative interference with the private-law judgments of the courts. In 1786, the Vermont Council of Censors issued an "Address of the Council of Censors to the Freemen of the State of Vermont" to fulfill the council's duty, under the State Constitution of 1784, to report to the people " 'whether the legislative and executive branches of government have assumed to themselves, or exercised, other or greater powers than they are entitled to by the Constitution.' " Vermont State Papers 1779-1786, pp. 531, 533 (Slade ed. 1823). A principal method of usurpation identified by the censors was "[t]he instances . . . of judgments being vacated by legislative acts." Id., at 540. The council delivered an opinion
"that the General Assembly, in all the instances where they have vacated judgments, recovered in due course of law, (except where the particular circumstances of the case evidently made it necessary to grant a new trial) have exercised a power not delegated, or intended to be delegated, to them, by the Constitution. . . . It super-cedes the necessity of any other law than the pleasure of the Assembly, and of any other court than themselves: for it is an imposition on the suitor, to give him the trouble of obtaining, after several expensive trials, a final judgment agreeably to the known established laws of the land; if the Legislature, by a sovereign act, can interfere, reverse the judgment, and decree in such manner, as they, unfettered by rules, shall think proper." Ibid.
So too, the famous report of the Pennsylvania Council of Censors in 1784 detailed the abuses of legislative interference with the courts at the behest of private interests andPage: Index Previous 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Next
Last modified: October 4, 2007