« ForrigeFortsett »
vested in one Supreme Court; and in such inferior courts, as Congress may from time to time ordain and establish.
Judges The judges, both of the Supreme, and inpermanent.
ferior courts, hold their office during good behaviour ; and, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
The Supreme Court is thus established by the Constitution ; but the details of its organization are left to Congress, who have also the power to create and establish such inferior courts as they may deem proper. But all the judges hold their office during good behaviour, and have fixed, permanent salaries.
Compensa- A change of circumstances, during the tion of Judges.
period of their continuance in office may render what was a competent salary at the
* In the exercise of this power, Congress have established Circuit Courts and District Courts. The United States are divided into seven great circuits, in each of which, Circuit Courts are held by one of the judges of the Supreme Court and the district judge of the district. These courts have jurisdiction in civil suits when the amount in controversy exceeds $500; and in all criminal cases cognizable under the authority of the United States. The District Courts are held by district judges, in the districts into wbich the United States are divided for this purpose, each State generally being one district, though some of the larger States are divided into two.
These courts have jurisdiction of all inferior crimes and offences cognizable under the authority of the United States, and committed within their respective districts, or upon the high seas; of all civil causes of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, and of seizures under the revenue laws of the United States; of civil suits in which the United States are plaintiffs, and the amount in dispute exceeds $100; and of all suits, within certain limits, against consuls and vice consuls. An appeal lies from the District Courts to the Circuit Courts, and from these, to the Supreme Court, when the amount in controversy exceeds $2000.
time of their appointment, a very insufficient Compensasupport ; and therefore it may be increased, fudges
tion of if Congress think proper ; but it cannot be diminished. This permanency of continuance, and support, affords the best security for that independent exercise of judgment, which is essentially requisite to the right performance of judicial functions. Without it, the judges would be dependent upon the power from which they were to derive their maintenance; and would, unavoidably, be under its control. But, though thus raised above the fear of undue influence from the other departments, they are not left without any control upon their conduct. They are liable to impeachment, for any abuse of their trust; and to be removed from office, upon conviction before the Senate.
The judicial, power of the United States Extent of extends to ten descriptions of cases, viz. 1st,
judicial To all cases arising under the Constitution because the meaning, construction, and operation of a contract ought always to be ascertained by all the parties, not by authority derived only from one of them. 2d, To all cases arising under the laws of the United States; because as such laws, constitutionally made, are obligatory on each State, the measure of obligation and obedience ought not to be decided, by the party from whom they are due, but by a tribunal deriving authority from both the parties. 3d, To all cases arising under treaties made by their authority ; because as treaties are compacts made by, and obligatory on the whole nation, their operation ought not to be affected, or regulated by the local laws or courts of a part of
Extent of the nation. 4th, To all cases affecting amjudicial
bassadors, or other public ministers, and power.
consuls; because as these are officers of foreign nations, whom this nation is bound to protect, and treat according to the laws of nations, cases affecting them ought only to be cognizable by national authority. 5th, To all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction, because as the seas are the joint property of nations, whose rights and privileges relative thereto, are regulated by the law of nations, and treaties, such cases necessarily belong to national jurisdiction. 6th, To controversies to which the United States shall be a party ; because, in cases in which the whole people are interested, it would not be equal or wise to let any one State decide and measure out the justice due to others. 7th, To controversies between two or more States; because domestic tranquillity requires that the contentions of the States should be peaceably terminated by a common judicatory ; and, because, in a free country, justice ought not to depend upon the will of either of the litigants. 8th, To cases in which a State sues the citizens of another State ; because when a State has demands against some citizens of another, it is better she should prosecute such demands in a national court, than in a court of the State to which those citizens belong; the danger of irritation, and criminations arising from apprehensions and suspicions of partiality, being thereby avoided. 9th, To controversies between citizens of the same State, claiming lands under grants from different States; because, as the rights of the two. States, to grant the land, are drawn in question, neither
of the two States ought to decide the contro- Extent of versy ; and 10th, To controversies between
power. a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects (except suits by individuals against a State); because, as every nation is responsible for the conduct of its citizens towards other nations, all questions touching the justice due to foreign nations, or people, ought to be ascertained by, and depend on, national authority.
Originally, suits against Siate, by citizens of other States, or foreigners, were included in this power; but the States were unwilling to appear in the federal courts at the suit of individuals; and therefore an amendment to the Constitution was adopted, which declares that the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States, by citizens of another State, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign State.
From this summary, taken from the opi- The obnion of Chief Justice Jay, in a case decided jects of the
judicial by the Supreme Court, it appears, that the power. cases comprehended within the judicial power of the Union, are those which
appropriately belong to the general government either from being matters of general interest, or, such as could not properly be left to the States; or from their relation to foreign nations. This was necessary to secure the peace and harmony of the Union. The judicial authority of every government must be co-extensive with its legislative power, or
Chisolme v. The State of Georgia, 2 Dall. 475.
it will be incapable of carrying its laws into jects of the effect. To have restrained the federal judijudicial power. ciary within narrower limits, would have
rendered the federal government dependent upon the States for the execution of its laws; which was one of the principal evils under the old confederacy, intended to be remedied by the new Constitution.
Authority It is therefore expressly declared that of the judiciary to
“the judicial power shall extend to all cases declare arising under this Constitution, the laws of laws void. the United States, and treaties made, or to
be made, under their authority.” This necessarily gives to the courts, authority to declare an act of Congress, an article in a State Constitution, or a State law, which is inconsistent with the Constitution of the United States, void. When a question of this kind arises, and is brought before the Supreme Court for adjudication, its decision must be final and conclusive; because the Constitution gives to that tribunal, power to decide, and has given no appeal from its decision.
The people of the United States have declared the Constitution to be the supreme law of the land, and entitled to implicit obedience. Every act of Congress, every act of the Legislatures of the States, and every part of the Constitution of any State, which is repugnant to the Constitution of the United States, is, necessarily, void. The judicial power of the Union is declared to extend to all cases in law and equity arising under the Constitution ; and to the judicial power it belongs, whenever a case is presented before it, to determine what is the supreme law of the land. And this power in the last resort,