Imágenes de páginas

number of courts could be objected to by any gentleman, as it would remove the inconvenience of being dragged to the centre of the United States. I own that the power of creating a number of courts is, in my estimation, so far from being a defect, that it seems necessary to the perfection of this system. After having objected to the number and mode, he objected to the subject matter of their cognizance. [Here Mr. Marshall read the 2d section.] These, sir, are the points of federal jurisdiction to which he objects, with a few exceptions. Let us examine each of them with a supposition that the same impartiality will be observed there, as in other courts, and then see if any mischief will result from them. With respect to its cognizance in all cases arising under the constitution and the laws of the United States, he says, that the laws of the United States being paramount to the laws of the particular states, there is no case but what this will extend to. Has the government of the United States power to make laws on every subject ? Does he understand it so? Can they make laws affecting the mode of transferring property, or contracts, or claims between citizens of the same state? Can they go beyond the delegated powers? If they were to make a law not warranted by any of the powers enumerated, it would be considered by the judges as an infringement of the constitution which they are to guard. They would not consider such a law as coming under their jurisdiction. They would declare it void. It will annihilate the state courts, says the honorable gentleman. Does not every gentleman here know, that the causes in our courts are more numerous than they can decide, according to their present construction? Look at the dockets; you will find them crowded with suits, which the life of man will not see determined. If some of these suits be carried to other courts, will it be wrong? They will still have business enough. Then there is no danger that particular subjects, small in proportion, being taken out

of the jurisdiction of the state judiciaries, will render them useless and of no effect. Does the gentleman think that the state courts will have no cognizance of cases not mentioned here? Are there any words in this constitution, which exclude the courts of the states from those cases which they now possess ? Does the gentleman imagine this to be the case ? Will any gentleman believe it? Are not controversies respecting lands, claimed under the grants of different states, the only controversies between citizens of the same state, which the federal judiciary can take cognizance of? The case is so clear, that to prove it would be an useless waste of time. The state courts will not lose the jurisdiction of the causes they now decide. They have a concurrence of jurisdiction with the federal courts in those cases, in which the latter have cognizance.

How disgraceful is it that the state courts cannot be trusted, says the honorable gentleman. What is the language of the constitution? Does it take away their jurisdiction? Is it not necessary that the federal courts should have cognizance of cases arising under the constitution and the laws of the United States ? What is the service or purpose of a judiciary, but to execute the laws in a peaceable, orderly manner, without shedding blood, or creating a contest, or availing yourselves of force? If this be the case, where can its jurisdiction be more necessary than here? To what quarter will you look for protection from an infringement on the constitution, if you will not give the power to the judiciary? There is no other body that can afford such a protection. But the honorable member objects to it, because, says he, the officers of the government will be screened from merited punishment by the federal judiciary. The federal sheriff

, says he, will go into a poor man's house and beat him, or abuse his family, and the federal court will protect him. Does any gentleman believe this? Is it necessary that the officers shall commit a trespass on

the property or persons of those with whom they are to transact business? Will such great insults on the people of this country be allowable? Were a law made to authorize them, it would be void. The injured man would trust to a tribunal in his neighborhood. To such a tribunal he would apply for redress, and get it. There is no reason to fear that he would not meet that justice there, which his country will be ever willing to maintain. But on appeal, says the honorable gentleman, what chance is there to obtain justice ? This is founded on an idea, that they will not be impartial. There is no clause in the constitution, which bars the individual member injured, from applying to the state courts to give him redress. He says, that there is no instance of appeals as to fact in common law cases.

The contrary is well known to you, Mr. Chairman, to be the case in this commonwealth. With respect to mills, roads and other cases, appeals lie from the inferior to the superior court, as to fact as well as law. Is it clear, that there can be no case in common law, in which an appeal as to fact might be proper and necessary? ? Can you not conceive a case where it would be productive of advantages to the people at large, to submit to that tribunal the final determination, involving facts as well as law? Suppose it should be deemed for the convenience of the citizens, that those things which concerned foreign ministers, should be tried in the inferior courts : if justice should be done, the decision would satisfy all. But if an appeal in matters of fact could not be carried to the superior court, then it would result, that such cases could not be tried before the inferior courts, for fear of injurious and partial decisions.

But, sir, where is the necessity of discriminating between the three cases of chancery, admiralty and common law? Why not leave it to Congress? Will it enlarge their powers? Is it necessary for them wantonly to infringe your rights? Have you any thing to apprehend, when they can, in no case, abuse their

power without rendering themselves hateful to the people at large? When this is the case, something may be left to the legislature, freely chosen by ourselves, from among ourselves, who are to share the burdens imposed upon the community, and who can be changed at our pleasure. Where power may be trusted, and there is no motive to abuse it, it seems to me to be as well to leave it undetermined, as to fix it in the constitution.

With respect to disputes between a state and the citizens of another state, its jurisdiction has been decried with unusual vehemence. I hope no gentleman will think that a state will be called at the bar of the federal court. Is there no such case at present? Are there not many cases in which the legislature of Virginia is a party, and yet the state is not sued? It is not rational to suppose, that the sovereign power shall be dragged before a court. The intent is, to enable states to recover claims of individuals residing in other states. I contend this construction is warranted by the words. But, say they, there will be partiality in it, if a state cannot be defendant-if an individual cannot proceed to obtain judgment against a state, though he may be sued by a state. It is necessary to be so, and cannot be avoided. I see a difficulty in making a state defendant, which does not prevent its being plaintiff. If this be only what cannot be avoided, why object to the system on that account? If an individual has a just claim against any particular state, is it to be presumed, that on application to its legislature, he will not obtain satisfaction ? But how could a state recover any claim from a citizen of another state, without the establishment of these tribunals ?

The honorable member objects to suits being instituted in the federal courts by the citizens of one state against the citizens of another state. Were I to contend, that this was necessary in all cases, and that the government without it would be defective, I should not use my own judgment. But are not the objections to

it carried too far? Though it may not, in general, be absolutely necessary, a case may happen, as has been observed, in which a citizen of one state ought to be able to recur to this tribunal, to recover a claim from the citizen of another state. What is the evil which this can produce? Will he get more than justice there?-The independence of the judges forbids it. What has he to get?--Justice. Shall we object to this, because the citizen of another state can obtain justice without applying to our state courts? It may be necessary with respect to the laws and regulations of commerce, which Congress may make. It may be necessary in cases of debt, and some other controversies. In claims for land it is not necessary, but it is not dangerous. In the court of which state will it be instituted—said the honorable gentleman. It will be instituted in the court of the state where the defendant resides, where the law can come at him, and nowhere else. By the laws of which state will it be determined-said he. By the laws of the state where the contract was made. According to those laws, and those only, can it be decided. Is this a novelty ?-No, it is a principle in the jurisprudence of this commonwealth. If a man contracted a debt in the East Indies, and it was sued for here, the decision must be consonant to the laws of that country. Suppose a contract made in Maryland, where the annual interest is at six per centum, and a suit instituted for it in Virginia, what interest would be given now, without any federal aid ? The interest of Maryland most certainly, and if the contract had been made in Virginia, and suit brought in Maryland, the interest of Virginia must be given without doubt. It is now to be governed by the laws of that state where the contract was made. The laws which governed the contract at its formation, govern it in its decision. To preserve the peace of the union only, its jurisdiction in this case ought to be recurred to. Let us consider, that when citizens of one state carry on trade in another state, much must be due to the one from

« AnteriorContinuar »