Wednesday, April 13, 2011

quote of the day

"Ingenious men may assign ingenious reasons for opposite constructions of the same clause. They may heap refinement upon refinement, and subtlety upon subtlety, until they construe away every republican principle, every right sacred and dear to man."

-Williams, speech as New York Ratifying Convention, 1788

I thought of this the other day when I read something mentioning that law students in con-law seldom read the actual constitution but go straight to the cases and interpretations. The lawyers don't even bother with the text, but go straight to the subtleties they have themselves created. The subtleties have been heaped so high they do not bother to try to dig out the constitution that lies underneath.

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