“or to keep and bear arms, it would be the province of the judiciary to decide that the power of the legislature did not extend to the making of such law . . .”
For The National Intelligencer
William & Mary, Jan. 30, 1802. . . .
. . . Judge [St. George] Tucker’s Lectures on the Judiciary of the United States, as delivered by him as Professor of Law at this University [William & Mary] . . .
. . . And here we cannot but observe, that the judiciary power cannot of itself oppress the citizen: The executive must lend its aid in every case where oppression can ensue from its decisions: but its decisions in favor of the citizen are carried into instantaneous effect by delivering him from the coercion of the executive officer the moment that judgment of acquittal is pronounced; and herein consists the excellence of our constitution, that no individual can be oppressed, whilst this branch of the government remains uncorrupted: it being a necessary check upon the encroachments of power by either of the other. Thus, if the legislature should pass a law dangerous to the liberties of the people, the judiciary are to pronounce, not only whether the party accused be guilty of a violation thereof, but whether such law be permitted by the constitution. If, for example, a law were passed prohibiting the free exercise of religion; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people to assemble peaceably, or to keep and bear arms, it would be the province of the judiciary to decide that the power of the legislature did not extend to the making of such law, and consequently to acquit the prisoner from any penalty which might be annexed to the breach of such an unconstitutional law. . . .
[The National Intelligencer And Washington Advertiser. Washington City, Vol. II. No. CCI. Friday, February 19th, 1802, Pg. 2]