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The Weblog at The View from the Core - Tue. 09/29/09 10:03:09 PM
   
         
         
   

Plus ça Change, Plus C'est la Même Chose *

This could have been written today about today.

From the Federal Farmer I, October 8, 1787:

It is natural for men, who wish to hasten the adoption of a measure, to tell us, now is the crisis — now is the critical moment which must be seized, or all will be lost: and to shut the door against free enquiry, whenever conscious the thing presented has defects in it, which time and investigation will probably discover. This has been the custom of tyrants and their dependants in all ages. If it is true, what has been so often said, that the people of this country cannot change their condition for the worse, I presume it still behoves them to endeavour deliberately to change it for the better. The fickle and ardent, in any community, are the proper tools for establishing despotic government. But it is deliberate and thinking men, who must establish and secure governments on free principles. Before they decide on the plan proposed, they will enquire whether it will probably be a blessing or a curse to this people.

Here's this, too, from the Federal Farmer III, October 10, 1787, in which our time was foreseen:

The judicial powers of the federal courts extends in law and equity to certain cases: and, therefore, the powers to determine on the law, in equity, and as to the fact, all will concentre in the supreme court: — These powers, which by this constitution are blended in the same hands, the same judges, are in Great-Britain deposited in different hands — to wit, the decision of the law in the law judges, the decision in equity in the chancellor, and the trial of the fact in the jury. It is a very dangerous thing to vest in the same judge power to decide on the law, and also general powers in equity; for if the law restrain him, he is only to step into his shoes of equity, and give what judgment his reason or opinion may dictate; we have no precedents in this country, as yet, to regulate the divisions in equity as in Great Britain; equity, therefore, in the supreme court for many years will be mere discretion.

Collection.

* The more things change, the more they stay the same.

[Follow-up: More from the Federal Farmer.]

Lane Core Jr. CIW P — Tue. 09/29/09 10:03:09 PM
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