« ZurückWeiter »
construed into insignificance, nor extended to objects not contemplated by its framers, or comprehended in it. 12 Wh. 332. It was not intended to use language, which would convey to the eye one idea, and, after deep reflection, impress on the mind another. 4 Wh. 420. Words must be taken in connection with those with which they are associated. 4. Wh. 418. The whole clause or sentence is to be taken together, and the intention collected from the whole. 12 Wh. 334. Every part of the article must be taken into view; and that construction adopted, which will consist with its words, and promote its general intention. The Court will not give affirmative words a negative operation, where it will defeat the intention, but may imply it, where the implication promotes the intention. 6 Wh. 398.
THE CONSTITUTION IS A GRANT.
The circumstances under which the constitution was formed, the history of the times, the mischiefs of the confederation, and the motives which operated on the statesmen of the day, are also to be considered, in ascertaining the meaning of the constitution; which was intended to change a system, the full pressure of which was known and felt, by superseding the confederation, and substituting a new government, organized with substantive powers, to act directly on the subjects of their delegated powers, instead of through the instrumentality of state governments. 6 Wh. 308; 12 Wh. 438, 9; 1 Wh. 332. This change was effected by the constitution, which, in the language of this Court, is a grant. “The grant does not convey power, which might be beneficial to the grantor, if retained by himself, or which can move solely to the benefit of the grantee; but is an investment of power for the general advantage, in the hands of agents, selected for that purpose, which power can never be exercised by the people themselves, but must be placed in the hands of agents or lie dormant,” 9. Wh. 189. The language of the constitution is the same. “All legislative powers herein granted, shall be vested in a congress of the United States,” &c. “The eacecutive power shall be vested in a president of the United States of America.” “The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court.” Here then, there is something visible to the judicial eye, tangible by judicial minds, reasoning, illustration, and analogy; intelligible by judicial rules and maxims, which, through all time, have prescribed its nature, effect, and meaning. It is a grant, by a grantor, to a grantee, of the things granted; which are, legislative, eacecutive, and judicial power, vested by a constituent, in agents, for the enumerated purposes and objects of the grant. It declares the grantor and constituent, to be “the people of the United States,” who, for the purposes set forth, “ordained and established” it as a “constitution for the United States of America;” “the supreme law of the land;” creating what its framers unanimously named, “the federal government of these states.” Its frame was “done in convention, by the unanimous consent of the states present.” The 7th article whereof declared that, “the ratification of the conventions of nine states, shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution, between the states so ratifying the same.” And, to leave no doubt of their intention, as to what should be deemed a convention of a state, the members thereof, by the unanimous order of the convention, laid it before congress, with their opinions, that it should be submitted to a convention of delegates chosen in each state, by the people thereof, under the recommendation of its legislatures, for their assent and ratification. 1 Vol. Laws U. S. 70, 71. No language can be more plain and clear, than the words of the constitution; nor can the intention of its framers more definitely appear, than by the unanimous order of the convention, submitting it to the old congress, under whose resolution the members had been appointed by the federal states. The intention of congress is equally manifest, in their unanimous resolution, adopted after receiving “the report of the convention, lately assembled in Philadelphia, in the words following: (the constitution) “That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several legislatures, in order É. be submitted to a convention of delegates, chosen in each state, by the people thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the convention, made and provided in that case. 1 Laws, 59, 60. But this coincidence of the words of the constitution, with the expressed and unanimous declaration of the members of the convention, and the congress, is neither the only nor most satisfactory mode, by which to identify the grantor, who conveyed the powers invested by the grant; and the constituent, who appointed the appropriate agents for their execution by delegation. There are other objects of the grant, besides the delegated powers of agency; the grant imposes conditions, limitations, prohibitions, and makes exceptions on the exercise of the powers of the states, and the people thereof; which form an all important part of that supreme law, which declares, that “the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, any thing in the constitution or laws of any state, to the contrary notwithstanding.” It is therefore, a law, paramount in authority over the people of the several states, who adopted it in their conventions; supreme, as well over their supreme law, ordained by their sovereign power, as those laws enacted in the ordinary course of legislation, by delegated power. The effect of which is, that the constitution, the creature, prescribes rules to its creator, which expressly confine its action within defined limits, and annuls all acts which are prohibited or excepted. Nay, it goes further, it imposes as a condition, that states shall not act by their own law, or compact, or agreement, with another state, without the consent of congress; which is a creature created by the grant of the people of the states, in their separate conventions: from which it necessarily results, that this grant, this constitution, and appointment of agents, must emanate from some power, paramount over, or from the people of the several states themselves. We search the constitution in vain, to find the existence or recognition of such power paramount; there is no function which it can perform; it can control no action by the government, or any of its departments. The whole frame of the constitution can be deranged; the structure of government, with all its powers and prohibitions, may be prostrated by amendments, save that “no state shall, without its consent, be deprived of its equal suffrage in the senate,” according to the provisions of the 5th article, which require the invocation of no power, paramount to that which can operate with such force.
The powers not delegated to the United States, or prohibited to the states, are, by the tenth amendment, “reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” These terms, “states,” “states respectively,” and “the people,” to whom this reservation is thus made, have been defined by this Court, too clearly, and too often to be mistaken, or to remain open for discussion, while its authority is respected.
THE TERM “STATE,” AND “UNITED STATEs,” AND “THE PEo
PLE,” DEFINED AND EXPLAINED.
In Fletcher v. Peck, this term is applied to a state, as existing independently of any restraint; “a single sovereign power;” and to a state as one of the United States, under the federal connection between them, it is thus qualified. “But Georgia cannot be viewed as a single unconnected sovereign power, on whose legislature no other restrictions are imposed than may be found in its own constitution. She is a part of a large empire. She is a member of the American Union, and that Union has a constitution, the supremacy of which all acknowledge, and which imposes limits to the legislatures of the several states, which none claim a right to pass.” 6 Cr. 136. The political situation of the United States, anterior to the formation of the constitution, and the change effected by its adoption, is better illustrated in the language of this Court than it can be in Inline. “It has been said, that they were sovereign, were completely independent, and were connected with each other only by a league. This is true. - But when these allied sovereigns converted their league into a government, when they converted their congress of ambassadors, deputed to deliberate on their common concerns, and to recommend measures of general utility, into a legislature, empowered to enact laws on the most interesting subjects; the whole character in which the states appear, underwent a change, the extent of which must be determined by a fair consideration of the instrument by which that change was effected.” 9 Wh. 187. Here, then, we have a power which was single, sovereign, and unconnected; with a legislature unrestricted, converting a congress into a federal legisdature, which was fully competent to erect it. What were names and things, had been before taught by the same instructor. “This term United States, designates the whole American empire.” It is the name given to our great republic, composed of states and territories; 5 Wh. 514; “ constituent parts of one great empire;” 6 Wh. 414; who have formed a confederated government;” 12 Wh. 334; 2 Pet. 590, 1; by the act of the people of the “great empire,” the “great republic,” the “American empire,” the United States. “The people of America,” “the American people,” “the people of the United States,” are but terms and names, to designate the grantor of the thing, which was thus formed, by the people, of the constituent parts; the thing, the power which formed it, by a thing, this constitution, established by the ratifications of nine things, conventions of nine states, by the people of each as a state. “These states are constituent parts of the United States. They are members of one great empire,” (“members of the American confederacy;” 2 Pet. 312,) “for some purposes sovereign, for some purposes subordinate.” 6 Wh. 414. The political character of the several states of this Union, in relation to each other, is this: “For all national purposes, the states and the citizens thereof, are one; united under the same sovereign authority, and governed by the same laws. In all other respects the states are necessarily foreign to and independent of each other. “They form a confederated government; yet the several states retain their individual sovereignties, and with respect to their municipal regulations, are to each other sovereign.” 2 Pet. 590, 1; 10 Pet. 579. S. P.; 12 Wh. 334. “The national and state systems are to be regarded as one whole.” 6 Wh. 419. “In America, the powers of sovereignty are divided between the government of the Union, and those of the states. They are each sovereign with respect to the objects committed to it; and neither sovereign with respect to the objects committed to the other.” 4 Wh. 410. “The powers of the states depend on their own constitution; the people of every state had the right to modify and restrain them according to their own views of policy or principle; and they remain unaltered and unimpaired, except so far as they were granted to the government of the United States. These deductions have been positively recognised by the tenth amendment.” I Wh. 325. “The powers retained by the states, proceed not from the people of America, but from the people of the several states, and remain after the adoption of the constitution what they were before, except so far as they may be abridged by that instrument.” 4 Wh. 193. S. P.; 5 Wh. 17, 54; 9 Wh. 203, 9. “In our system, the legislature of a state is the supreme power; in all cases where its action is not restrained by the constitution of the United States.” 12 Wh. 347. “Its jurisdiction is coextensive with its territory, coextensive with its legislative power,” 3. Wh. 387;” and “subject to this grant of power, adheres to the territory as a portion of sovereignty not yet given away.” The residuary powers of legislation are still in the state. Ib. 389 “The sovereignty of a state extends to everything which exists by its own authority, or is introduced by its permission.” 6 Wh. 429; 4 Pet. 564. “The jurisdiction of the nation within its own territory, is necessarily conclusive and absolute; it is susceptible of no limitation not imposed by itself. Any restriction upon it derived from an external source, would imply a diminution of its sovereignty, to the extent of the restriction, and an investment of that sovereignty to the same extent, in that power which could impose such restriction. All exceptions therefore, to the full and complete power of a nation within its own territories, must be traced up to the consent of the nation itself. They can flow from no other legitimate source.” 7 Cr. 136. In comparing these expressions of the Court with those of the old congress, it will be seen how perfectly they accord with each other in the use of terms. “The constituent members,” 1 Journ. 61; the “state,” from which we derive our origin, 66; “our fellow subjects in any part of the empire,” 138. “Societies or governments, vested with perfect legislatures, were formed under charters from the crown, and an harmonious intercourse was established between the colonies, and the kingdom from which they derived their origin,” 134, 141: “We mean not to dissolve that union, which has so long and so happily subsisted between us,” and have no design “of separating from Great Britain, and establishing independent states,” 138. “The union between our mother country and these colonies,” &c.; “your loyal colonists,” doubted not but that they should be admitted with the rest of the empire,” &c., 140; “the British empire,” 141; “the whole empire,” 147, 8; “the state of Great Britain;” “North America,” “wishes most ardently for a lasting connection with Great Britain,” 149. “America is amazed,” &c., 171; “The several colonies of it,” &c., 27; “these colonies;” “the English colonies in North America;” “the respective colonies,” 159, 60; “ these his majesty’s colonies,” 289, “The United Colonies of North America,” 134. The colonies of North America, 139. The twelve United Colonies, 142, 156, 7. Twelve ancient colonies, 149. Twelve united provinces, viz: &c., 152. The inhabitants and colonies of America, 153. The united colonies of North America, &c., 168. A congress, consisting of twelve United Colonies, assembled, 169. The thirteen United Colonies in North America, 263. All these are mere names, and the different terms of designation, which mean the same thing; so as to the name and term applied to the people of a state, kingdom, empire, or colony. “The people of America,” “the good people of the several eolonies of North America,” &c., 27; “the inhabitants of,” &c., 28; “the people;” “English colonists;” Ib. “Americans,” “the people of Great Britain,” “the inhabitants of British America,” 30, 36, 145. “Proprietors of the soil of America,” 37; “faithful subjects of the colonies of North America,” 63; “your faithful people in America;” “your whole people,” 67; “the good people of these colonies, 137, 139; “your loyal colonists,” 141, 147; “the people of twelve ancient colonies,” 149; “the people throughout all these