Lapas attēli

Due process of law requires that a man be heard before he is condemned, and both heard and condemned in the due and orderly procedure as recognized by the common law from time immemorial."

In my research I have found more cases where it has seemed to me the courts have construed constitutional guaranties too strictly, than where they have construed them too liberally. The tendency has been rather away from the enforcement of constitutional guaranties and to allow legislative encroachments upon them. I regard this as a very dangerous tendency. Perhaps the encroachments have not been at first perceived, but I think courts should be vigilantly on the watch for them, otherwise individual rights guaranteed to the people by the constitution may be gradually weakened and finally destroyed. This duty of the courts was declared in the case of Boyd v. United States, 116 U. S. 616 at page 641-where in refusing effect to a statute requiring the production of his books

and papers by a defendant in proceedings for forfeiture, the court said: "Though the proceeding in question is devested of the aggravating effects of actual search and seizure, yet it contains their substance and essence, and effects their substantial purpose. It may be that it is the obnoxious thing in its mildest and least repulsive form; but illegitimate and unconstitutional practices get their first footing in that way, namely, by silent approaches and slight deviations from legal modes of procedure. This can only be obviated by adhering to the rule that constitutional provisions for the security of person and property should be liberally construed. A close and literal construction deprives them of half their efficacy and leads to gradual depreciation of the right as if it consisted more in sound than in substance. It is the duty of courts to be watchful for the constitutional rights of the citizen and against any stealthy encroachments thereon. Their motto should be obsta


A review of the cases in which the courts have been called upon to decide whether a statute breaks over the constitutional limitation will demonstrate to any dispassionate person that upon questions of expediency, of the general welfare, or even of justice, the judges rarely if ever oppose their opinion to that of the legislators. The courts do not obstruct the current of progress; they only keep it from overflowing its banks to the devastation of the constitutional rights of the people.






ESPITE the lessons of history showing

the need of specified limitations upon

the legislative power to ensure personal liberty and justice, it is still urged by the impatient that this check upon legislative action should be removed, or at least that the legislature should itself be the judge of the constitutionality of its acts, and that the legislatures as the representatives of the people may be trusted to observe constitutional requirements and limitations. From the beginning, however, the people of this country have not fully trusted their legislatures. They have not only set bounds to legislative power, but within those

bounds they have imposed in most instances the check of an executive veto. They have also complained of their legislatures far more loudly than they have of their courts, and latterly have subjected them to the initiative and referendum and in some instances to the recall.

Perhaps the judgment of those urging that the legislature should be trusted not to trespass on the constitutional rights of the people may be enlightened by recalling some instances of legislative action upon constitutional questions left to its decision by the constitution itself. It is hardly necessary to cite instances of the abuse of this power in the matter of determining who are entitled to seats in the legislature. It is common knowledge that, in the past at least, both law and fact have often been over-ridden for partisan advantage. As an illustration of how far a legislature will sometimes go in this direction I may cite a recent instance in Maine. The constitution of that state provides (Art. IV, Pt. 3, Sec. 11) that "no person holding any office under

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