The Works of Daniel Webster ... (v. 3)
Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.
Publisher: Date:8/5/2009 - General Books LLC
By: Daniel Webster
Excerpt from book: INDEPENDENCE OF THE JUDICIARY. Regrets are vain for what is past: yet I hardly know how it has been thought to be a regular course of proceeding to go into committee on this subject, before taking up the several propositions which now await their final readings on the president's table. The consequence is, that this question comes on by surprise. The chairman of the select committee is not present: many of the most distinguished members of the convention are personally so situated as not to be willing to take part in the debate, and the first law officer of the government, a member of the committee, happens at this moment to be in a place (the chair of the committee of the whole) which deprives us of the benefit of his observations. Under these circumstances, I had hoped the committee would rise. It has, however, been determined otherwise, and I must therefore beg their indulgence while I make a few observations. As the constitution now stands, all judges are liable to be removed from office by the governor, with the consent of the council, on the address of the two houses of the legislature. It is not made necessary that the two houses should give any reasons for their address, or that the judge should have an opportunity to be heard. I look upon this as against common right, as well as repugnant to the general principles of the government . The commission of the judge purports to be, on the face of it, during good behavior. He has an interest in his office. To give an authority to the legislature to deprive him of it, without trial or accusation, is manifestly to make the judges dependent on the legislature. Remarks made on the 30th of December, 1820, in the Convention, upon a Resolution to make Judicial Officers removable by the Governor and Council upon the Address o...