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under the Confederation, had the same exclusive authority to make treaties that is now possessed by the President and the Senate under the Constitution, and a treaty was in theory as obligatory then, upon the separate States and their inhabitants, as it is now. But it has been found to be an axiom of universal application in the art of government, that a supremacy which is merely theoretical is no real supremacy. If a stipulation made by the proper authority with a foreign government is to have the force of law, requiring the obedience of individuals and of all public authorities, its execution must be committed to à judiciary acting upon private rights without the hinderance or influence of adverse legislation.
There is another branch of the judicial power which illustrates in a striking manner the object embraced in the preamble of the Constitution, where the people of the United States declare it to be their purpose "to establish justice." This is found in the provision for a special jurisdiction over the rights of persons bearing a certain character. Like almost everything else in the Constitution, this feature of the judicial power sprang from a necessity taught by previous and severe experience. Reasoning from the mere nature of such a government as that of the United States, it might seem that the judicatures of the separate States would be sufficient for the administration of justice in all cases in which private rights alone are concerned, and by which no power or interest of the general government, and no provision of the general Constitution, is likely to be affected.
But we find in the judicial power of the United States a particular jurisdiction given on account of the mere civil characters of the parties to a controversy; and its existence there is to be accounted for upon other than speculative reasons. From the Declaration of Independence to the day of the ratification of the Constitution, the judicial tribunals of the States had been unable to administer justice to foreigners, to citizens of other States, to foreign governments and their representatives, and to the governments of their sister States, so as to command the confidence and satisfy the reasonable expectations of an enlightened judgment. Hence the necessity for opening the national courts to these various classes of parties, whose different positions may now be briefly considered.
In a country of confederated States, each possessing a full power of legislation, it could not but happen-as it did constantly happen in this Union before the adoption of the Constitution—that the determination of controversies between citizens of the State where the adjudication was to be had, and citizens of another State, would be exposed to influences unfavorable to the ends of justice. In truth, one of the parties in such a controversy was virtually an alien, in the tribunal which he was obliged to enter; for although the Articles of Confederation undertook to secure to the free inhabitants of each State all the privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States, yet it is obvious that the efficacy of such a provision must depend
almost wholly upon the spirit of the tribunals, and upon their capacity to give effect to such a declaration of rights, against a course of State policy or the positive enactments of a State code. The chief difficulty of the condition of affairs existing before the Constitution lay not so much in the hazards of a violation of principle through local prejudice, or the superior force of local policy or legislation,although these influences were always powerful, — as in the fact that, when these influences were likely to be most active, or were most feared, there was no tribunal to which resort could be had, and which was known to be beyond their operation and their reach. The articles of compact between the States had intended to remove from the citizens of the different States the disabilities of practical alienage under which they would have stood in the tribunals of each other. But with that mere declaration those articles stopped. If the litigant saw that the local law was likely to be administered to him as if he were a foreigner, or feared that the scales of justice would not be held with an impartial hand, he could go nowhere else for a decision. This was a great evil; for much of the value of every judicature depends upon the confidence it inspires.
There were still other and perhaps stronger reasons for creating an independent jurisdiction, to be resorted to by foreigners, in controversies with citizens of the States. No clause in the Constitution was to make them equal in rights with citizens, and for the very reason of their alienage, therefore, it was
necessary to give them access to tribunals organized under the authority of the general government, which would be responsible to foreign powers for the treatment that their subjects might receive in the United States. Ambassadors, too, and other foreign ministers, would not only be aliens, but would possess the character of representatives of their sovereigns; and consuls would be the public agents of their governments, although not bearing the diplomatic char-. acter. These functionaries were therefore permitted to resort to the judicial power of the United States; and for the purpose of more effectually protecting the national interests that might be involved in their personal or official relations, original jurisdiction was given to the Supreme Court in all cases affecting them.
In addition to these, there were other controversies, which, as we have seen, were included within the judicial power of the United States, on account of the character of the parties; namely, those to which the United States might be a party; those to which a State of the Union might be a party, where the opposite party was another State of the Union, or a citizen of another State of the Union, or a foreign state or its citizens or subjects; and those between citizens of a State of the Union, and foreign states, citizens, or subjects. Finally, controversies between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States were placed under the same jurisdiction for similar reasons; - because the State tribunals could not be expected to afford that degree of
impartiality which the circumstances of these several cases required.
There remains only one other branch of the jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution on the tribunals of the United States which it is necessary to notice; namely, the admiralty and maritime jurisdiction. With respect to the criminal jurisdiction in admiralty, in cases of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and the prize jurisdiction, the Articles of Confederation had given to the Congress the exclusive power of appointing courts for the trial of the former, and for hearing and finally determining appeals in all cases of capture. Such appeals were taken from the State courts of admiralty, tribunals which also possessed and exercised a civil jurisdiction corresponding to that of the admiralty in England, but in practice somewhat more extensive. When the Constitution was framed, it was perceived to be expedient, on account of the relation of maritime commerce to the intercourse of the people of the United States with foreign nations, or to the intercourse of the people of different States with each other, to give the whole civil as well as criminal jurisdiction in admiralty, and the entire prize jurisdiction, original as well as appellate, to the government of the Union. This was effected by the comprehensive provision, which gives the judicial power cognizance of "all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction"; expressions which have often been, and are still likely to be, the subject of much forensic controversy with respect to the particular trans