Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1

Document 17

James Iredell, Marcus, Answers to Mr. Mason's Objections to the New Constitution

1788Pamphlets 342--44

IV. Objection.

"The judiciary of the United States is so constructed and extended, as to absorb and destroy the judiciaries of the several States; thereby rendering law as tedious, intricate and expensive and justice as unattainable by a great part of the community, as in England; and enabling the rich to oppress and ruin the poor."


Mr. Mason has here asserted, "That the judiciary of the United States is so constructed and extended, as to absorb and destroy the judiciaries of the several States." How is this the case? Are not the State judiciaries left uncontrolled as to the affairs of that State only? In this, as in all other cases, where there is a wise distribution, power is commensurate to its object. With the mere internal concerns of a State Congress are to have nothing to do: In no case but where the Union is in some measure concerned, are the federal courts to have any jurisdiction. The State judiciary will be a satellite waiting upon its proper planet: That of the Union, like the sun, cherishing and preserving a whole planetary system.

In regard to a possible ill construction of this authority, we must depend upon our future legislature in this case as well as others, in respect to which it is impracticable to define every thing, that it will be provided for so as to occasion as little expense and distress to individuals as can be. In parting with the coercive authority over the States as States, there must be a coercion allowed as to individuals. The former power no man of common sense can any longer seriously contend for; the latter is the only alternative. Suppose an objection should be made that the future legislature should not ascertain salaries, because they might divide among themselves and their officers all the revenue of the Union. Will not every man see how irrational it is to expect that any government can exist which is to be fettered in its most necessary operations for fear of abuse?

The Founders' Constitution
Volume 4, Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1, Document 17
The University of Chicago Press

Ford, Paul Leicester, ed. Pamphlets on the Constitution of the United States, Published during Its Discussion by the People, 1787--1788. Brooklyn, 1888. Reprint. New York: De Capo Press, 1968.

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