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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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4486. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].
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4486. LAW, Construing.—[further continued].

The question whether
the judges are invested with exclusive authority
to decide on the constitutionality of a law,
has been heretofore a subject of consideration
with me in the exercise of official duties. Certainly
there is not a word in the Constitution
which has given that power to them more than
to the Executive or Legislative branches.
Questions of property, of character and of
crime being ascribed to the judges, through a
definite course of legal proceeding, laws involving
such questions belong, of course, to
them; and as they decide on them ultimately
and without appeal, they of course decide for
The constitutional validity of the
law or laws again prescribing Executive action,
and to be administered by that branch
ultimately and without appeal, the Executive
must decide for themselves also, whether, under
the Constitution, they are valid or not.
So also as to laws governing the proceedings
of the Legislature, that body must judge for
the constitutionality of the law, and
equally without appeal or control from its coordinate
branches. And, in general, that
branch which is to act ultimately, and without
appeal, on any law, is the rightful expositor
of the validity of the law, uncontrolled
by the opinions of the other coordinate
To W. H. Torrance. Washington ed. vi, 461. Ford ed., ix, 517.
(M. 1815)