blog Time Hath Found Us: Thomas Jefferson on an Unchecked Judiciary

April 06, 2005

Thomas Jefferson on an Unchecked Judiciary

The author of "The Declaration of Independence" and the third President of the United States held no special love in his heart for the Judicial branch of the government. Some 121 years after these letters were written, we look back at these words as prophetic.

“The germ of dissolution of our federal government is in the constitution of the federal Judiciary; an irresponsible body (for impeachment is scarcely a scare-crow) working like gravity by night and by day, gaining a little today and a little tomorrow, and advancing its noiseless step like a thief, over the field of jurisdiction, until all shall be usurped.” (Letter to Charles Hammond, August 18, 1821)

“The great object of my fear is the Federal Judiciary. That body, like gravity, ever acting with noiseless foot and unalarming advance, gaining ground step by step and holding what it gains, is engulfing insidiously the special governments into the jaws of that which feeds them.” (Letter to Judge Spencer Roane, 1821)

From: "Relevant Today: Thomas Jefferson on Judicial Tyranny"